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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Jones

Cultivating A Culture of Genius in Black Youth

Updated: Apr 10, 2019

Black children have been a major topic of many political conversations within the past two years. Usually, these conversations are had using a variety of coded language. We have heard such terms as "At youth", "Urban", "Inner City", and "Thugs". However, one term seldom heard is Genius. It almost seems odd saying the phrase "Black Genius" or "Genius Black Child".  

It is important that we begin to change the narrative of how our children are identified. This is important not only to shift the beliefs of others, but also the self-esteem, identity, and vision of ourselves. The Black community has countless amounts of traumatic influence. We are criticized and criminalized for nearly everything we do as a culture. Due to this, it is very trouble and stressful for Black people to maintain a solid level of pride.

What is Genius?

The term genius is not often utilized to describe Black youth. The term is often associated with individuals we place on iconic status. As a society, we associate genius with individuals who achieve great success. However, genius is something that we all possess. However, it is not always utilized within most of us. A constructive definition of genius is a state of Intelligence that is a summation of your actions, talents, and Skills. Based on this definition everyone can utilize genius if we chose to do so.


Every Black child has a set of skills. If not, then every Black child has the capacity to develop and can achieve a level of skills to be successful in life. Skills consist of Hard Work (Discipline), Tactics, understanding of context, access, and Networks. One of the most significant disadvantages that much Black youth face is a limited exposure to situations that require your abilities. Since they do not have the exposure it is difficult to recognize how they fit and can contribute to their community and the world at large. This expose can be facilitated through networks, which many Black youths also do not have.


Talent is something that cannot be taught or coached. It is usually something we all have. However, most people do not discover their talents because of fear, lack of information, and limited abilities to take a risk. Talents consist of an individual’s unfair advantage. Where they shine (standout) more than others and display their distinct abilities. Everyone is good at something. Figuring out what that “something” is the hard part. Especially, for Black youth who are often at a disadvantage due to lack of resources.


Actions are the greatest truth. What we do expose that which we are, what we believe and our true purposes. The actions of individuals can be influenced by multiple factors. One of the main factors is the ethnic culture that one is subscribed to. In essence, the actions of Black youth are significant to explain where and what Black culture is.  Actions consist of “Know How”, Consistency, and Starting (taking a risk). What we know is influenced by what we learn within our culture. Our consistency is directly correlated to our level of boundaries and discipline. Taking risk is related to the amount of resources, support, and desire we provide as a community. Black youth’s actions are directly impacted by the dominant culture that they function in.

Every Black child is an Artist and an Engineer. They have an innate ability to create. Also, they have the capacity to build an impressive lifestyle and legacy. However, without proper tools and guidance, it's because of wasted genius. This is why it is significant for us as individuals who are concerned with the Black community to invest in our youth.

Our children are the future of our community. We must make a conscious effort to be the stakeholders in the development in our children. If you do not, others will for their benefit.  We have seen this with such an institutional systems like the school-to-prison pipeline. We are charged with the responsibility to provide an opportunity for our children to flourish.

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