This book contains broad and definitive concepts for black men to master in order to stay out of the criminal justice system. I focus on black men, because this is what I understand most, being black and a man. I know what this country has done to and for black men. My focus is on the criminal justice system, because of my professional experiences, and a desire to address the crisis that is happening to black boys and men, because of racism and historical oppression. In order to make connections, I have incorporated large aspects of my personal life story. These accounts, confessions, and revelations are woven in along with my perceptions on historical, political, societal and psychological factors that are negatively impacting black men. Particularly, I have written about white supremacy and patriarchy, the foundations on which the United States was founded, and of which feeds the oppression against black men that lingers today.
This book is particularly timely due to the social and political backlash demonstrated by the Trump administration, following eight years of President Obama. I discuss this current climate in honest and insightful ways. In my book, I am sharing with black men how to study, understand, and navigate through white oppression. I believe in controlling what we can, which starts with self. This book is realistic about the state of affairs in the United States, but my message is certainly not overwhelmingly negative. There is much to love about America. I devote an entire chapter on reasons why black men should not treat this great country as an enemy of our people. Yet, I am also brutally honest. There are systemic traps for black men. As a black man and part of the first post-Jim Crow generation, I have strong opinions about the struggles of black men in America. Pride and a belief in civil rights were instilled in me by my late maternal grandfather, Andrew Jordan, a local leader at the height of the civil rights movement in Greenwood, Mississippi. My devoted mother, Jordana Shakoor, has also had a strong influence on my racial viewpoints. Her book, Civil Rights Childhood, is still used in courses at universities all over the country. Besides practicing law and occasionally teaching college courses, I have been active in my community as a volunteer mentor and through pro bono work with the ACLU. I also sometimes work with political activists in Tampa, Florida, which has given me insight and inspiration to help in the struggle. On a lighter note, I am a proud graduate of the Ohio State University and a fanatical Buckeye fan. My obsessive interests in pop culture, particularly sports, movies and music, are a natural and strong fiber throughout the book to serve as inspiration and examples to support my advice to black men. There is a great deal of humor in my book as well, but it is mixed in with many sobering moments. I grew up in a home where my mother and sister were abused by my horrible stepfather, before my mother found the courage to end the marriage. My mother worked many hours and also went back to college to earn her degree. We struggled financially in a moderately affluent white suburb, with an excellent school system. I never quite fit into the community. As a young black boy growing up in this environment, and troubled home life, it caused me problems with self-esteem, depression and anger. For the most part, I was a good student, but I abused alcohol, and occasionally used drugs. I never went to prison, but this is because of a strong family and good luck. Some of the friends I hung around with abused and sold drugs, along with other criminal activity. One of my closest friends went to prison, and another passed away. I share stories in my book, about these dear friends of mine. Ultimately, I hope this book will help keep black men out of the criminal justice system and save lives.