Clinical doctor and school psychologist, Dr. Umar Johnson, explains why many African-American young males are being medicated for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The Author of Psycho-Academic Holocaust: The Special Education & ADHD Wars Against Black Boys said there has been in increase in the misdiagnosis of ADHD in the Black community when the true problem lies in the fact so many Black and Latino youth diagnosed with the disorder are void of a male presence in the home. Why is this an issue? Mothers traditionally provide the nurture and love, while fathers tend to provide structure and discipline.
In the United States, African-American boys are diagnosed with the disorder at a much higher rate than any other class of students. Studies show that within the African-American community of children there is a 70 percent increase within the last few years. The remedy for these kids is not medication, instead, it is a viable male presence in their lives. Johnson said there are more female teachers than male and when the boy who is filled with testosterone cannot sit still in a classroom for as long as the average girl, who is dealing with estrogen, they are marginalized and stigmatized with a disorder. He added:
As a diagnosis the disorder was introduced in 1980 and was called ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). In 1987, the ‘H’ for hyperactivity was added to ADHD. Once it became ADHD, it opened up a black hole that allowed for nearly every child to be diagnosed and ultimately prescribed medication. Prior to 1987, it was simply attention deficit disorder — once the word hyper was included, this opened up the opportunity for medication.
Johnson is considered a national expert on the effect learning disabilities has on Black children. He has worked diligently to assist parents and schools with modifying challenging behaviors which can ultimately lead to African-American children being misdiagnosed and labeled with a disorder. As a Certified School Psychologist Johnson lectures across the globe and practices privately throughout Pennsylvania.
According to Johnson, the criteria for ADHD is difficulty paying attention, misplacing things necessary to complete work, having excess energy and blurting out answers in class. This is not a disorder, it is normal male childhood behavior. When the school system is dominated with a female presence, these boys are expected to neglect normal male behavior; when they do not, they are stigmatized for acting like a boy and guardians are advised to have the child medicated.
The problem Johnson has with this theory is he does not believe ADHD is an actual learning disability. As a result of this, the school psychologist has renamed ADHD “Ain’t no Daddy at Home Disorder.” Johnson, who is also a former school principal, said the issue is a lot of these boys are relegated to a life without a father in the home, which means the masculine energy which traditionally provides consequences and establishes the necessary boundaries for a young male is also not present. Nearly 85 percent of boys diagnosed with ADHD do not have their father in their life.
Johnson said it is no coincident that hyper was added to ADD in 1987, which is the same decade America started a mass incarceration of African-American and Latino males. Men were being locked up for selling crack which resulted in their sons being diagnosed with ADHD and given crack but called it Ritalin, Concerta or Metamina so they can sit still long enough to be “miseducated.” According to Johnson, the drug enforcement agency categorizes Ritalin as a schedule two drug, which puts it in the same class as opium and cocaine.
The former school principal is issuing a warning to parents that one of the ways schools deal with perceived “bad behavior” is to diagnose and medicate students for ADHD. When this happens, parents should seek a certified professional to properly assess the child. Johnson said for many African-American and Latino boys it is not as much about mental health as it is about the collapse of the family structure that unjustly leaves the mother with the daunting responsibility of turning a boy into a man. As such, the school psychologist has renamed ADHD “Ain’t No Daddy at Home Disorder.”
by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
The Breakfast Club: Dr. Umar Johnson Discusses Heavy Cultural Social Issues
NewsOne News: ADHD Wars Against Black Boys
Psycho-Academic Holocaust: The Special Education & ADHD Wars Against Black Boys,
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Inside Image Courtesy of ADHD Center – Flickr License
Featured Image Courtesy of Edgar Cervantes – Flickr License