Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Lost Generation of Black Boys

Phillip Jackson, Executive Director of the Black Star Project in Chicago has posted an article with more grim details about the plight of Black boys in America.
There is no longer a need for dire predictions, hand-wringing, or apprehension about losing a generation of black boys. It is too late. In education, employment, economics, incarceration, health, housing, and parenting, we have lost a generation of young black men. The question that remains is will we lose the next two or three generations, or possibly every generation of black boys hereafter to the streets, negative media, gangs, drugs, poor education, unemployment, father absence, crime, violence and death.

Most young black men in the United States don’t graduate from high school. Only 35% of black male students graduated from high school in Chicago and only 26% in New York City, according to a 2006 report by The Schott Foundation for Public Education. Only a few black boys who finish high school actually attend college, and of those few black boys who enter college, nationally, only 22% of them finish college.
He goes on to say some pretty challenging things about how society and the church is failing them and how even the African American community is neglecting them. "Worst of all is the passivity, neglect and disengagement of the black community concerning the future of our black boys. We do little while the future lives of black boys are being destroyed in record numbers."

Here are his suggestions...

Short term
  • Teach all black boys to read at grade level by the third grade and to embrace education.
  • Provide positive role models for black boys.
  • Create a stable home environment for black boys that includes contact with their fathers.
  • Ensure that black boys have a strong spiritual base.
  • Control the negative media influences on black boys.
  • Teach black boys to respect all girls and women.

Long term
  • Invest as much money in educating black boys as in locking up black men.
  • Help connect black boys to a positive vision of themselves in the future.
  • Create high expectations and help black boys live into those high expectations.
  • Build a positive peer culture for black boys.
  • Teach black boys self-discipline, culture and history.
  • Teach black boys and the communities in which they live to embrace education and life-long learning.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

These statistics are very sobering. It's interesting because I had a conversation with a 15 year-old friend of mine the other day who just broke up with her boyfriend (who recently got out of jail), and is now "talking" with another guy who's under house arrest. We talked about this a bit, and I asked her if she's ever considered dating a guy who hasn't been in jail. Her response was this: "Andrea, look around. There aren't any guys who haven't been in jail."