Too Long Ignored
Bob Herbert with a powerful op ed on the "tragic crisis of enormous magnitude…facing black boys and men in America":
A tragic crisis of enormous magnitude is facing black boys and men in America.
Parental neglect, racial discrimination and an orgy of self-destructive behavior have left an extraordinary portion of the black male population in an ever-deepening pit of social and economic degradation.
The Schott Foundation for Public Education tells us in a new report that the on-time high school graduation rate for black males in 2008 was an abysmal 47 percent, and even worse in several major urban areas — for example, 28 percent in New York City.
The astronomical jobless rates for black men in inner-city neighborhoods are both mind-boggling and heartbreaking. There are many areas where virtually no one has a legitimate job.
More than 70 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers. And I've been hearing more and more lately from community leaders in poor areas that moms are absent for one reason or another and the children are being raised by a grandparent or some other relative — or they end up in foster care.
That the black community has not been mobilized en masse to turn this crisis around is a screaming shame. Black men, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, have nearly a one-third chance of being incarcerated at some point in their lives. By the time they hit their mid-30s, a solid majority of black men without a high school diploma have spent time in prison.
Homicide is the leading cause of death for young black men, with the murderous wounds in most cases inflicted by other young black men.
This is a cancer that has been allowed to metastasize for decades. Not only is it not being treated, most people don't even want to talk about it.
August 20, 2010