Black Men: America’s Great Underappreciated Assets

Black Men: America’s Great Underappreciated Assets


What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about black males in the United States? That’s the question social entrepreneur Trabian Shorters would like more Americans to ask themselves.

“I’d follow that question with another; ‘is it good?’ Because too often, the first thing people conjure up in their minds is an outdated, negative stereotype,” says Shorters, who is founder and CEO of BMe Community, a network of all races and genders committed to building better communities across the U.S., inspired by black men.

Shorters contends that defining any group by their challenges is the definition of stigmatizing them, and can cause people to relate to said groups in prejudiced ways that blind individuals to their contributions.

“BMe’s work is not about saving black men,” says Shorters, who also is co-editor with Ben Jealous of the book, Reach—40 Black Men Speaking on Living, Leading, and Succeeding. “It’s about recognizing black men’s everyday contributions to the well-being of society, and building America’s future based on positive values that we all share. In the distorted dialog about race, we forget that we all value good schools, safe streets, a strong economy, and a healthy environment. The 18,000 members of the BMe Community do their part every day to secure those blessings for others.”

Shorters suggests a few steps that could lead to a change in perspective about black men:

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