Session: Examining the key determinants of development and well being of boys and men of color.
Panelists: Dr. Wizdom Powell, Dr. Babarin, Dr. Stephanie Cook; Dr. Kevin Nadal
Summary: Discussion flowed around the issues and challenges that Black males face. Though I am often concerned about the deficit data approach to research, where we continuously observe the problem and what Black males are NOT doing rather than doing, I must say that Dr. Babarin’s work around boys of color in middle school was eye opening.
- Behavior, aggression, hyper activity increases in grades 3-5 among BOC (Boys of Color)
- Difficulty regulating emotions
- Hostile attributions, aggressive fantasies, conduct problems and depression while increase in grades 3-5 for BOC and they then DECREASE-or level off-by Junior high to high school
While it was indeed eye opening to listen to the data on middle school we still have to do a better job in the research field in developing asset based data (i.e. what is the profile of Black youth NOT faced with these issues) in changing the narrative and what gets funded.
In addition we need to look at our school systems in grades 3-5, are they structured to best meet the emotional and developmental needs of youth? Will the move towards more standardized testing increase those disparities?
Mentoring was brought up as a solution, but the challenge here is the retention of the mentor. The average relationship between mentor and mentee is 18 months but here, if we want to be effective in assisting youth, mentoring must be consistent over 36 months.
Another important note was when Frank Malone of 100 Fathers Inc stated that research and community programs must do a better job in working together on these issues.
Lastly, what this panel has proven is we need to increase the movement for more mental health programs within our K-12 systems. We cannot avoid this issue any more.