Why African American Men Should Teach Too

In my travels, I have met several African American men who have confessed to me their troubles in finding work. By no account are they uneducated men. The vast majority come from homes where their parents took education very seriously and enforced values that embraced the pursuit of knowledge and not only for career advancement but also for self-fulfillment. So what then is the problem?

These men have been locked out of an employment system where whiteness is heralded and blackness is devalued. There are, of course, examples of African American men who do well in the US—that one rich doctor, that star attorney, or that one CEO of a major company—but for the most part they are tokens and not a representative of the whole.

On the whole, even the educated ones struggle to find employment suited to their abilities. The major trend is that they get their foot into the door with a job but find difficulty moving up beyond a certain pre-established threshold. They are, in essence, stuck with no upward mobility in sight.

And those are the most fortunate of them.

Many others can never enter the workforce in positions commensurate with their skill, talents, and mental abilities. They never find that toe in the door, much less an entire foot. This is especially true for African American men who want to enter teaching.

Hardly will you find a number of university professors who are African American men and women. Although they are more than twelve percent of the population, they make up less than four percent of university teachers in the US. Even still, these numbers are misleading because they tend to be the professors who are untenured, with no job security, and at the less prestigious schools.

While the chances of African American men and women teaching at universities is quite low, the odds of African American men teaching in primary schools is even lower. In the US and Europe in general, there is a gross underrepresentation of male teachers at the primary school level.

Overall, Western countries stigmatize male teachers, painting them as perverts who are prone to misbehavior with children. I’m sure most of us have heard stories about Catholic priests in the West who are accused of molesting small boys.

The Western stigma against men being around small children hurts African American men. They are rarely considered for jobs in primary schools, even in their own communities. Essentially, they are locked out of the teaching profession in large numbers. Boys in African American communities are particularly disadvantaged.

Keeping men out of primary education, however, has adverse effects on the upbringing of African American boys. Never seeing someone who looks like them in front of the classroom, many young boys in America become disengaged.

With few African American male teachers throughout their schooling, African American men do not see the school systems as a place for people like them. This lack of male role models leads to high drop out rates.

For girls, male teachers represent opportunities to build relationships with men outside of their immediate and extended families.

It is important that African Americans find work in their country, since how else can they live without solid income and satisfaction from work? It is equally important that African American men are able to get jobs teaching their children in schools.

In African countries, male teaching in primary schools helps young men feel motivated and succeed in education. In China, male teachers are also highly active in primary schools. Having more male teachers would be a huge benefit to African American communities, both economically and culturally.

Why should African American men be left outside of the formal systems of their children’s educational development? African American men should teach too.

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I am Amara. I come from a long line of griots (jalis). My grandfather was central in my upbringing. He comes from a tradition of oral history immersed in the vast expanse of time and the pageantry of customs and rituals. But, I have come to learn the reality of the ways of the griot in the 21st Century. I became a Scribe at Grandmother Africa for exactly this reason - to keep a tradition going, in a different medium. If you enjoyed this essay and would like to support more content like this one, please buy me a cup of coffee in support of my next essay, or you can go bold, very bold and delight me. Here's my CashApp: $AMARANEFETITI


  1. ‘Poignant’ has never be more carefully symbolized. This article by Amara Jali strikes a chord with an essay I read this morning. Thanks Amara Jali for exposing in terms, the pharisaism of western journalism.

    The article it seems that Amara is rightly responding to is by far the most hideous trumpery I have ever read.

    Fantastic example of what has become of journalism today – it is pure sophistic nonsense. Alia Wong’s crude understanding of facts and their implications thereof embraces her, a graduate of Boston University’s School of Law, and some. She is the Education Editor at The Atlantic. Well. Only, she feels she can attempt an analysis of Africa’s educational systems, healthcare systems, traditional law systems, etc. from her cubicle. She is not the first to feign knowledge of Africa. She won’t be the last.


    • Exactly. This is why no group or subgroup should ever take advice when the giver or said advice not only won’t clean their own house but is dead set on the contrary.

    • That Atlantic article by Alia Wong was by far the most hideous trumpery I have ever read.

      Fantastic example of what has become of journalism today – pure sophistic nonsense. The crude understanding of facts and their implications thereof embraces this young lady from Honolulu, a graduate of Boston University’s School of Law, and some. She is the Education Editor at The Atlantic. Well. Only, she feels she can attempt an analysis of Africa’s educational systems, healthcare systems, traditional law systems, etc. from her cubicle. She is not the first to feign knowledge of Africa. She won’t be the last.

      But, this is illustrative, especially for young African writers and journalists who need to understand the bilious attempts by western media outlets to still paint Africa as a forest cave.

  2. I will paraphrase a witty statement by a friend, Solomon Azumah-Gomez.

    America wants Woman-run African American communities. Which in itself would be welcomed by Africa Americans except America doesn’t care for strong African American women either, just as much as it hates strong African American men. In essence, what America wants in Africa American communities across the nation is weak African American families and communities – whether they are led by self-assertive men or by confident women.

  3. Amara Jali is a saint amidst this hullabaloo about feminism and feminist thought. Amara is proud to be a woman and she embraces her gender without apology. This article is yet another one of those I have read from Amara where she defuses the white male gaze with intelligent raport that it elates me. Great stuff. Stick it to them, that America that wants to meddle in everybody’s business. Alia Wong is a just an ant in the long line of articles being used to forge a feminism ideology in Africa. Crazy. But, we won’t bite!

  4. Feminist Theory, Feminism, Homosexuality, Girl-Child Education are clandestinely wrapped in one. The propaganda is tough to spot. But, once spotted, it is for easy picking. There’s nothing proprietary in its formulation and execution. I can do much better. This is chicken-head propaganda and it saddens me that only few spot it.

  5. And, about that Atlantic article by Alia Wong. It is perhaps time to tell America to go f-ck itself. This hypocrisy is getting old. So what if men, if that were even the case, dominated teaching in all of Africa? Do these men not have wives, sisters, daughters and mothers? Gee…

    All this links to is their over-hyped activities in Africa to educate women at the strict expense of the men. America wants a Woman run Africa. Which in itself would be welcomed by Africa except, America doesn’t care for strong women either, just as much as it hates strong men. In essence, what America wants in Africa is weak governments and weak leaders – whether they are led by men or women.

    Now, teaching is a very important part of our education and even the continuance, if at all, of our traditional values – good or bad. America sees this as the first place to de-tool an essence of African-ness since men are seen as more bent on preserving African tradition. Getting rid of identity is essential to the weakening of nations. It is fundamental to the conquering going on. It is the first step to enslave the people – a lack of identity.

    In this sense, men, are seen as rarely tracking fast towards loosing their identities. This essay is one of such few steps in this American propaganda.

  6. …a particularly insidious agenda to emasculate our society and foment gender antagonism. this agenda came with the ngos whose net contributions 2 our development are questionable at best. attacks on all fronts with willing participation from our kleptocratic ruling class and an aggrieved yet pliant segment of femdom. we only have ourselves 2 blame for our pitiable state.

  7. “We only have ourselves to blame for our pitiable state” indeed! How advantageous, exactly is African femdom, when they tie their clothes to that of western femdom at the expense of their men, sons and father? I am not at all comprehending this nice pancake from America, which seems to be igniting salivation all around me. My Gods!

  8. I had a similar argument last night. Will post the thread here. As usual, there was a fierce resistance or denial of reality while the majority remained silent because to them, any cow presented to them as a sheep won’t be noticed.

  9. The goal of the west to see Africa as a basket case has never changed. Only the strategy keep changing. Sadly to most of our own people, they confuse the change in strategy with the actual goal which has always been the same.

  10. If we had real education in Africa… this stuff would be spotted from 100 miles away. How we allow people with sub-par brains to pick us apart is what annoys me the most! I know smarter people, who can formulate better propaganda that this easy stuff, yet because all our leaders are CIA agents these smart people would have to find another way to take back our continent.

  11. Hehehehe, empty barrels talk. The smart people do. You know! You can only expose the mummery so long and so far. Those who have ears will listen and those who have eyes will see. The rest are toasts left to the whims and caprices of a real Africa elite and the CIA agents in Africa.

  12. No the US is more interested in sewing discord than anything because as long as a country or region is in discord then it can’t unite against its actual enemy. The US used social media to create chaos in the Middle East and Egypt just like we tried in Cuba. Sure the youth of those countries have very legitimate issues just like the women and even men of those countries. Yet, the US doesn’t listen to its own youth. How did the US handle the WTO demonstrations in Seattle or even in Ferguson and similar protest. So when confronted with the same conditions it sews in other countries, the US acts as the police states it criticizes other countries for being only they never claimed to be bastions of freedom and personal liberty. This is exactly how the West is always dividing countries in Africa yet even though the people in Crimea wanted to join Russia the US and Europe are against it. When you divide countries they don’t suddenly become more peaceful but instead fight it out for even longer periods of time. So if you can trick the women of a country into thinking that the West is their friend and the men they actually live with or raise even are against them then guess what…the fix is in. Women and youth have issues in front of them but they don’t need the US to tell them how to address them. Let them set their own agenda. The irony is that when the issues are economic and not cultural the US has a pretty large hand in whatever those people are facing. Either because the dictator beating them down is on our payroll or we are doing everything we can to sabotage stability in that region.


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