Racism not only affects single African American mothers but also their adolescent sons. According to Daryanani, Hamilton, Abramson, and Alloy (2016), despite the gains made in the fight against this vice, American society is yet to be free from the yoke of racism, and children are not spared from this vice. African American children still find themselves struggling to get admitted to good schools primarily because of a system that favors whites over blacks (Elliott, Brenton, & Powell, 2018). The economic disenfranchisement in the country has also created an environment where a significant number of African American adolescent boys find it desirable to engage in drug abuse, drug peddling, and other criminal activities. As such, they are more likely to interact with law enforcement agencies.
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Discrimination is a common challenge that African American adolescent boys have to deal with in the country, especially at school. Most of these adolescents have to contend with direct verbal attacks from their peers primarily because of their race (Liang, Berger, & Brand, 2019). For those who are parented by single mothers, the experience is often worse, especially among financially challenged groups. African Americans earn less and are less likely to get well-paying jobs compared with their white counterparts. Unfortunate economic realities are some of the challenges that a single African American mother has to be ready to overcome, and it directly affects their adolescent sons.
Stereotypical sentiments are common in the United States, and sometimes they may have a major implication for African American adolescent boys. One of the common stereotypical sentiments that they have to face is that African Americans are drug addicts who tend to use violence to solve disputes (Elliott et al., 2018). Such beliefs often make African American youths more vulnerable to police brutality than white adolescents. Adolescent sons are also likely to face discriminatory verbal attacks, and it is the responsibility of the mother to try to explain to the child that such claims are not true. Such social injustices may be emotionally draining to both the parent and the son.
Social injustice in American society may come in different forms, especially for African Americans. According to Daryanani et al. (2016), there have been reports of sexual abuse directed against the vulnerable in the country, and African American adolescents tend to be the victims. Most of the sexual predators often target victims that they believe lack the capacity to fight back. The systematic discrimination witnessed in the country for over the last three centuries makes blacks the most vulnerable members of the society, hence more prone to sexual predation (Liang et al., 2019). These unfortunate realities are often frustrating to black youths.
Inequality in society is a critical issue when discussing challenges that African American adolescent boys face in the country. Studies have shown that it is common to find cases where fathers of these children fail to obey court orders in terms of the contributions they should make towards their child’s upkeep (Daryanani et al., 2017). Law enforcement agencies have failed in various cases to ensure that such men obey the law. Economic inequality means that some of these adolescents cannot get access to some of the amenities that they desire. As such, some often opt to join criminal gangs.
Daryanani, I., Hamilton, J. L., Abramson, L. Y., & Alloy, L. B. (2016). Single mother parenting and adolescent psychopathology. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44(7), 1411–1423.
Daryanani, I., Hamilton, J. L., McArthur, B. A., Steinberg, L., Abramson, L. Y., & Alloy, L. B. (2017). Cognitive vulnerabilities to depression for adolescents in single-mother and two-parent families. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 46(1), 213-227.
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Elliott, S., Brenton, J., & Powell, R. (2018). Brothermothering: Gender, power, and the parenting strategies of low-income black single mothers of teenagers. Social Problems, 65(4), 439-455.
Liang, L. A., Berger, U., & Brand, C. (2019). Psychosocial factors associated with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress among single mothers with young children: A population-based study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 1(242), 255-264.