Is Policy or Mentorship Needed for Young Men of Color?

Friday, February 28, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks about his 'My Brother's Keeper' initiative with students from the Chicago's Youth Guidance program Becoming a Man at the White House. Feb. 27, 2014 (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Yesterday President Barack Obama announced a new initiative designed to help young men of color. The program, called "My Brother's Keeper," is aimed at cultivating the kind of mentoring that the president believes helped him and will help other African American males and men of color to break a cycle of underachievement or worse.

The program will mobilize $350 million, mostly from private charities, over the next 5 years to find and replicate best practices for improving the odds of success for young men of color. 

Lester Spence is a professor of political science and Africana studies at Johns Hopkins University. He's also the author of "Stare in the Darkness: The Limits of Hip-Hop and Black Politics." He says that he appreciates the gesture, but believes the president should be pushing policy to help young men of color—not mentorship.


Dr. Lester Spence


T.J. Raphael

Comments [3]

MaryJo from Washington State

I know that ALL young men of any color who have grown up with poverty, violence, addiction, and abandonment by their fathers would benefit from proven mentorship programs that show them a healthier way to live their own lives and raise their families. Addressing this simply as an issue of young men of color polarizes and alienates support.

Feb. 28 2014 01:11 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Professor Spence was a little hard on the President. Mentor-ship is needed in all communities for every child.

Feb. 28 2014 12:17 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Bake sales will get NASA to Mars if the cake is in the shape of a rocket and the cake tastes good.

Feb. 28 2014 12:15 PM

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