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Patrick L. Ervin

GREENVILLE – As I sit back and look at all of the images that represent what it means to be a black male in 2007, several thoughts enter my mind. Is the black male seen as he is portrayed on music videos with gold chains shining, consumed by broken English and glorifying an image of the thug life?

Or is the black male in 2007 an articulate, outgoing man a couple of steps away from the presidency of the United States?

Am I seen to be more like Barak Obama or Michael Vick? Will Smith or O.J. Simpson?

Chances are, the typical African-American male falls somewhere in between. Now that I’ve begun teaching middle school, I see a new problem with some of our up-and-coming brothers.

Some have no clue how society has already labeled them. I often find myself telling young men who walk around with their pants sagging, using bad language and disrespecting others and themselves that they are confirming what many facets of society already think.

I always admonish them to present themselves well, learn as much as they can and someday pleasantly surprise and subsequently silence their critics.

Locally, the problem has been recognized, and some are willing to exemplify good citizenship and model excellence for future generations.

Two weeks ago, one of my colleagues, Vernalisa King, invited the Greenville Police Department’s G-Unit to Solomon Middle School to discuss actions and consequences of negative behavior and the so-called “hood” mentality. Delta Democrat Times

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