Article Summary Oliver William’s article on Black Males and Social Problems in the Journal of Black Studies handles very critical issues on black ethnicity. He seeks to explain the reasons why there are many social problems among black Americans than there are among white Americans…
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He then elaborates the possible remedies to restore the status of the black males from inferiority to an equal level to the white Americans. Oliver highlights the theories that different authors have put across to explain why the black males face social problems at a higher rate than white males. One of those theories is the genetic inferiority theory. Supporters of this theory argue that blacks probably have genes that make them more susceptible to social problems. He criticizes this theory, because there are no specific genes in the genetic set-up responsible for such traits. In addition, he makes it clear that social problems are a result of environmental and cultural factors and not genetic factors. The third theory is the racial oppression theory. Supporters of this theory argue that the blacks face oppression denying those equal opportunities in education, employment and other areas where the whites get preferences. The blacks then find themselves entangled in social problems as they struggle to survive. This theory overestimates the number of blacks susceptible to social problems while in real sense only a few of them have social problems. According to Oliver, a structural-cultural perspective serves to explain why the blacks are prone to unacceptable social behavior. He presents this perspective to address two different aspects. In the first place, many structural pressures push the blacks to social problems. These pressures come from the social, economic, and political set-up of the American community. Apparently, there is still a rampant white superiority and black inferiority attitude in the American society. On the other hand, the blacks have resulted to the wrong cultural adaptations to cope with the prevailing pressures. Blacks have remained adamant to adopt an afro- centric cultural ideology. This ideology, as, Oliver explains should help blacks concentrate on accepting themselves as uniquely Africans. Despite the rampant attitude of treating whites as more important people, blacks should learn how to cope wisely. In addition, the blacks have opted to strive to achieve the ‘tough guy’ defined by the white man. They also struggle to attain the ‘player of women’ title. These adaptations unfortunately land the blacks in more problems that are social. The author illustrates the level of white superiority in the American society. The blacks can feel it in the education system as well as religion. The blacks feel less important. The whites on the contrary believe that they are the only available source of solutions to problems. The toughness ideology is a white man’s definition of what a man should be emotionally, financially, and socially. As the black male struggles to become the ‘tough guy’, he fixes himself into more social and domestic problems. It results to violence cases among the blacks, hatred and fear of blacks by blacks dominates their society. Oliver elaborates the ways in which blacks end up into more social problems, as they try to achieve the ‘player of women’ title. As they strive to conquer women, more teen-age pregnancies, single parent families, divorces, and domestic violence result. According to Oliver, the afro-centric ideology is the only worthwhile solution to the prevailing conditions. It is time for the blacks to walk out of the Euro-American
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