Black Boys Black Men Black Fathers: Beyond the Headlines

Published: 21 January 2008

Most of the teenagers killed in London in 2007 were young black men. As these incidents indicate, black males are disproportionately represented in terms of being victims of crime. Black males also suffer disproportionately from a range of other problems such as school exclusions, academic underachievement, mental health problems and as suspects and inmates within the criminal justice system.

How do we begin to think about these interrelated issues? How do we go beyond the headlines that grab our attention for a moment and, through their being so familiar, help to make us complacent about how to understand these issues and the people they most directly affect?

The many headlines about black men, often offered as if they are explanations, include:

  • The lack of positive black male role models for black boys
  • Absent black fathers
  • Fear of black males
  • Misogynistic hip-hop gangster culture
  • Stereotypes of black male as sexual, athletic and violent
  • Institutional racism.

But do these apparent explanations explain – and how do they influence the thinking and practice of professionals who work with black boys, their parents and families? What are the issues for professionals working with black males? What practice approaches work? What can we learn from those who have excelled with working with black boys/men?

This conference, taking place on 8 February, is organised by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. It brings together a range of thinkers and practitioners who have gone beyond the usual headlines to explore and address these issues, including Camila Batmanghelidjh, Director of the Kids Company and Melvyn Davis, Director of The Male Development Service.

For more details telephone 020 8938 2548, email or visit




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