For many of us, we know the name and the man known as Cameron Newton. We know him as the quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, for his "melt you like butter" smile, and for being unapologetically Black! Through his work and demonstrations on and off the field, we praise him and our sons idolize him, but no one is talking about what he is teaching Black girls.
While his actions may not be directly impacting the lives of Black girls, what he is teaching our Black boys does. Black boys have someone to aspire to be like. Someone that is goal oriented, true to himself, and will not conform to suit someones' perception of what he should be. Having respect for themselves and ultimately branching that out into other aspects of their lives affects the Black girls that they encounter. They have respect for themselves and they show respect to the young ladies in their lives.
There are a number of little girls that don't have positive examples of what a strong Black man looks like, and how a Black man or any man should treat a woman. Girls and boys look for examples to learn from. If one is not provided in the home, an example from the media is easily accessible. Parents have to be mindful about what types of media we let our children consume. Think about it... do you really want your child to learn respect and love from Love and Hip Hop?
Granted there are some good examples, like Remy Ma and Papoose, but I don't want my child growing up to be with a man that thinks the side-chick culture is acceptable. Nor do I want my daughter think that it is allowable in a relationship. Like most mothers (yes, I said most mothers because we've seen some pretty ratchet mothering thanks to 24 hour new media) we want our children to be with someone that has had positive influences and examples to help form them into a positive and respectful person.
Newton, and other men of color in media and our community (celebrities, activists, teachers etc.) our teaching our young boys and girls what it really means to be respectable, to be respected, to be true to yourself, and how to treat others. And his media coverage is just the start. Other men of color are becoming leaders in our communities and positive examples for our children, and the media is deeming that newsworthy without changing the narrative.
For example, take the hundreds of black men that greeted Seattle’s South Shore PK-8 students with positivity and encouragement, whiling dispelling negative stereotypes of black men.
It just goes to show the important role that a positive male plays in children's lives.