'Save My Son': Reality Show Keeps It Real

TV One's new series explores how family can be the problem and the solution for black boys at risk.

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Missing from the show is the presence of counselors or psychologists, who are needed; some of these kids, like Malik, are clearly in crisis. These children's needs are also emotional and psychological and warrant the support of a mental-health professional. If a child is engaging in self-mutilation and saying he doesn't care whether he lives or dies, then he is clearly in need of mental-health services. Perhaps such support is happening behind the scenes but not being included in the show.

Save My Son is a reality show that faces reality head-on. What are the real consequences of having 70 percent of black children raised in households without fathers? What does it do to the self-esteem of a young person abandoned by a parent? Why are black mothers afraid of "losing" their sons but unwilling or unable to do what is necessary to save them? Why are gifted and talented young black boys willing to throw their lives away so easily?

Save My Son is a reality show worth watching because it challenges our reality in an effort to improve the lives of those on the show and those who are watching. Save room on the DVR for Save My Son.

Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., is editor-at-large for The Root. She is also editor-in-chief of the Burton Wire, a blog dedicated to world news related to the African Diaspora and global culture. Follow her on Twitter.

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Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., is founder and editor-in-chief of the Burton Wire. A media scholar and critic who is an expert on the intersection of race, class, gender and sexuality with film, television and new media, Burton is associate professor of communication and media studies at Goucher College in Baltimore. Follow her on Twitter.

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