Black Male Elder Recognition by Jonathan Wills

AFRS 130

December 12, 2011

Alvin Wills is a husband and a father. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, in an area known as South Central. His father left when he was a toddler so he and his nine siblings were raised predominantly by his mother. He grew up in an atmosphere where he had to mature fast in order to help his family. As a teenager, he played basketball and football and ran track. He continued participating in these sports all the way through high school. He attended junior college after high school while also picking up jobs here and there to help support his family.

During his free time, he really enjoyed playing basketball and did so any chance he got. He and his group of friends would play basketball at local parks and middle school gyms any chance they received. Because South Central is a heavily populated area, these basketball games would attract a lot of people. Alvin knew almost everyone there was to know in the neighborhood. The basketball games he participated in drew large crowds. This was not some type of recreational league or organized basketball either; it was just teenagers having a good time. However, he played with some good players so the games were very good and extremely competitive. Some of the players he played with ended up becoming college basketball stars. Some of them even went on to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA). His passion and love for the game of basketball, not to mention his wide network of friends that he played with, would be an important cornerstone in later accomplishments and opportunities for him in life.

After college, he worked some jobs here and there, just trying to save up money. Finally he applied for and received a job at the electricity company known as Edison. He has been working there ever since. Due to his love for sports, he also began to get into the field of becoming a sport’s official. He would referee basketball and football games. To this day, he still continues to referee, basketball only now, and does so on many different age levels. Currently, he only officiates games at the high school level, adult leagues, and children leagues. At one point, he got as far up as college games with a couple of different offers to referee in the NBA. However, the constant traveling would interfere with his job and family life so he respectfully had to turn the offers down. All of this work and networking would not just go away in vain, but instead lead to a later accomplishment that would be monumental. Through all his contacts and networks of friends, Alvin wanted to do something big for the game of basketball. With the help of his close friend, he started the Drew League. The Drew League is a summer basketball league that allows good street players, amateurs, and professional basketball players to all participate together. He named it the Drew League because up until about three or four years ago, the games were played at Charles Drew Middle School in Los Angeles. In recent years, the league had to move to a bigger court because of the publicity and media attention it received. More and more NBA players have participated in it each year and even some of the NBA’s best have come out. This past summer Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and Lebron James have each participated in the Drew League.

Alvin is a hard-working family man. He does not conform to the social stereotypes that the media portrays about black men. He does not fit the stereotype that black men have children and do not stay around to raise, provide for, or take care of them. Alvin has two children whose lives he was a part of from day one. He took care of his oldest son, Alvin Jr, even though he was not married to nor did he get along with Alvin Jr’s mother. After meeting and marrying his current wife, Jean, they had a son. Not only does he take care of his own children, but he also serves as a father figure to his wife’s other children as well. If the stereotype of black men not raising their own kids is true, then it would be assumed that they most certainly would not raise another person’s children. Jean came into their marriage with two other children of her own. He took them in, raised them in his household, and treated them as if they were one of his own.

Another stereotype attached to black men is that they are violent thugs. This is not the case with Alvin. Because of where he grew up, there was violence and gangs all around him. However, he did not take part in that lifestyle. He is not a violent man, nor is he a thug or criminal. This does not mean, however, that he is soft and weak and will not defend himself or his family. It just means that he does not initiate or promote violence as a solution to problems that he may face.

The asserted stereotype that black men are “playas” and do not respect woman is also not represented by Alvin. He is a family man. He treats his wife as a husband should. Alvin also treats his step-daughter the same way, with love and respect. In fact, he does not even refer to her as his step-daughter. To him, she is just merely his daughter. He does not talk down to them or angrily degrade them in any type of way. Alvin and his wife have been married for twenty-three years. He has not had affairs with other women during their relationship together.

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One thought on “Black Male Elder Recognition by Jonathan Wills

  1. Wow!
    Uncle Alvin,
    Thank you for being apart of our family. I am Alivin Jr.’s cousin. Alvin Sr. was an asset to our family and was perfect for my Aunt Billie for over 17 years. Great family man even before he married his current wife..

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