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As a single Black mother of two young sons, I am doing my best to guide them down the correct path and hopefully prevent them from ending up in either prison or dead. I know that this is not the easiest question to answer, however, what factors do you think are critical to developing African-American boys? (Concerned Single Black Mother)

As someone who has worked extensively with African-American males of various ages, situations, and abilities, I must relate to you that the most powerful agent in this battle you are waging is one simple word, exposure.

As the proud father of a 13-year-old African-American male, I have made a concerted effort to expose my son to any and everything under the Sun.

Although he is not one of my favorite people, Jesse Jackson once quipped that “they have to see it to be it.” It is our duty as parents to socialize our children by exposing them to different ideas, events, and possibilities.

Quite possibly the most critical component between those African-American males who make it and those who do not is exposure. It is imperative that African-American males be exposed to every positive venue that one could imagine: theater, jazz, athletics, scholastics, martial arts, cultural events, etc. Those who fail to create such an environment should not be the least bit surprised when their boys grow into teenagers and then adult males with a flawed understanding of manhood that is best exhibited by their sexual prowess, physical aggression, and time spent in jail/penitentiary.

Without exposure future possibilities and goals fail to appear.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III is not only a Content Editor for African-American News and Issues, but also a graduate of THE Ohio State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts (Africana Studies), Master of Arts (Africana Studies), Master of Arts (History) and a Doctorate of Philosophy (History).

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