All Articles Tagged "African American men"
(Politics 365) — Starting Sunday, September 25, 2011, the National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is officially inviting African American men back to church. NBCI is working to make sure 10 million black males return to church over the next 10 years. NBCI’s press release noted national partnerships with major black religious leaders and denominations in response to the serious issues facing African American men, including rising levels of incarceration, drug use and unwed fatherhood. Rev. Anthony Evans, President of NBCI says, “NBCI has no other greater mission than to re-establish God’s order – the first step being to call our men back to church. We are committed to devoting a half a million dollars and a million hours of evangelism to get black men back into our pews. There is something missing from the heart of the black church – the presence of our black brothers will heal hearts, minds and families.”
File this under information we’d rather not discover: according to a new study conducted on North Carolina inmates, Black men live longer in prison than they do outside of prison. In essence, the survival rate of Black males is actually improved by prison. Wait til the Tea Party gets ahold of these findings.
The study dealt with 100,000 male prisoners between 20-79 in North Carolina prisons between 1995-2005 – 60 percent of the prisoners were black. Within prison, less than one percent of the men died and there was no difference in the death rates of black men and white men. But outside of prison, the statistics varied greatly as Blacks have a much higher rate of death at any age, than white males.
“[Black men] were less likely to die of diabetes, alcohol- and drug-related causes, airway diseases, accidents, suicide and murder than black men not in prison,” according to Reuters.
The access to healthcare was a big variable in survival rates. “Ironically, prisons are often the only provider of medical care accessible by these underserved and vulnerable Americans,” Hung-En Sung of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York told Reuters.
The findings of the study are bleak but may lead to greater improvements in healthcare. If prisoners are better off in prison, then what does that say about the conditions plaguing low-income communities and the services being offered to people of color?
Milwaukee is facing a staggering problem, as black male unemployment in Wisconsin’s largest city has reached an alarming 34%. Jobs for the unskilled used to be plentiful, but in recent years the area has lost 56,000 positions, most of which were in entry-level manufacturing. Today, African-American males just graduating from high school and others without training are finding it difficult to find jobs without the help of programs. CBS News reports:
Just 40 years ago, 8 out of 10 black men were employed. Most found jobs in manufacturing, where a kid coming out of high school used to be able to earn a decent wage and support a family, but not anymore.
Now, Milwaukee has begun a new program which matches high school drop-outs, low-skilled workers, even some ex-felons, with businesses willing to train them. For six months, men like Darius Smith are paid to learn carpentry or electrical installation skills.
“If we provide a little bit of opportunity for them it spreads,” says contractor Troy Reese.
Reese says he was eager to sign up to be a trainer and has taken on some tough cases.
“We’ve had people that are 12 years out of prison, (and) their first job is our job. So we really have to balance out the needs of each applicant,” Reese says.
In the five months since the program started, 124 trainees have signed up. Of that group, 88 are now in transitional jobs and six have landed full-time jobs. None have dropped out.
Programs such as these are assisting a handful of black men at a time, when thousands are at risk of enduring long-term joblessness. Milwaukee has become the first city in America to set up a task force to combat this massive predicament, but it is not the only locale struggling with similar circumstances. America in general is experiencing what has been termed a “mancession” — a recession in which men have lost most of the jobs — with black men being the hardest hit nationwide.
The persistent problem of black male unemployment has yet to be adequately addressed by any community. It is absurd that Milwaukee is the first and only city making a special effort to tackle a conundrum whose permutations touch so many lives. If black males are not working, their lack of income contributes to their mass incarcerations rates, the trials of the poor single mother, and many other social ills. This challenge will not be beaten with a few well-meaning programs, although leaders contributing to them are to be commended. More municipalities must work in a concerted effort with African-Americans overall if the quandary of black male unemployment will ever be solved.
(Rolling Out) — The more things change in America, the more they seem to stay the same. This means that if you are an African American, you pay more for goods in the stores in your community, have higher interest rates for your homes, and now, pay more for insurances just because of the color of your skin. A study just released on the automobile insurance industry has revealed what many have suspected for a long time: African Americans are charged higher insurance rates and premiums than whites. By examining annual car insurance rates for a sample of men in New York City, the authors of the study observed that African American males, on average, pay more than $800 more than whites or Asians for their car insurance.
They say you can’t legislate morality, but you can surely legislate against stupidity. Florida governor Rick Scott is poised to sign a bill which would ban sagging pants in the state’s public schools. The measure, which precludes students from exposing any “body parts in an indecent or vulgar manner” has already been passed by both houses of the state legislature. For some, it is a welcome attempt to bring back sense and sensibility to the public school system. To others, it reeks of racially-tinged politics, ultimately to profile and harass Black men.
I would fall in the former group and nowhere near the latter. What concerns me is that I may be in the minority, no pun intended. Meaning, our community eschews common sense far too often, avoiding what is easily the right thing to do. Opponents of this legislation I would argue fall into this second group.
The infractions and punishments are clear:
First infraction – Verbal warning and call to parent from principal’s office.
Second infraction – Results in suspension from extracurricular activities for a period of up to five days. The parent must also meet with the principal.
Third infraction – 3-day suspension.
On the other hand, there’s always the alternative of having the child his/her damn pants up.
And if/when you do, this discussion (and law) are moot. It takes serious and considerable indifference to get suspended from school under this law. I would argue, it’s an indifference related to how we arrived at this point in the first place.
Suspending young Black males for wearing their pants below their butts with their underwear in plain view is not racist, it’s good sense. We have had uniforms and dress codes in private schools and many public schools for generations. We have dress codes in our places of employment, our restaurants and evening establishments. Let’s embrace basic standards, common sense and stop making excuses for unacceptable behavior. We could do far worse than expecting of our young people exactly what the world will expect of them when they become adults.
No shirt, no shoes…no service. Pull up your pants or get suspended (on the third infraction no less).
Choose the path of least resistance and have your child pull his/her damn pants up. When you do, this discussion (and law) are moot.
By Brittany Hutson
How would you describe a masculine man? What does he look like?
Now how would you describe a hypermasculine man? What does he look like?
According to social scientists, a hypermasculine man exhibits three qualities: verbal or physical aggression, overt sexuality and enjoyment of risk taking. While these qualities are commonly perceived to be negative it’s not necessarily where the problem lies. Wherein the problem does lie however is how the term hypermasculine is casually tacked on and perpetuates stereotypes about black, Hispanic and certain homosexual men. Vanderbilt University’s assistant professor of sociology, Richard Pitt, explores this troubling field of study in a chapter titled “Revisiting Hypermasculinity: Shorthand for Marginalized Masculinities” in the book Where Are the Brothers: Essays and Studies on African American Masculinities. We spoke to Dr. Pitt to learn more about this ambiguous word and how it marginalizes minority men.
What is troubling to you about the idea of hypermasculinity?
People just use the word as if the word doesn’t have a real definition. So by using the word that has a real definition and just slapping it casually around on, for example, on black men who are standing on the street corner, then that by itself is a problem because remember, the definition of hypermasculinity says that these are men who are very violent, are likely to rape you and are risk takers.
The second issue winds up being that people tend to use hypermasculinity in literature as a way to study the behavior of men of color, gay men who are “straight” acting, working class men and Hispanics. You would be hard-pressed to find an article that says let’s look at hypermasculine behavior on Wall Street or let’s look at hypermasculine behavior in white men—they don’t do it. So these groups wind up owning the term because when we’re looking at these particular behaviors, we tend to describe their behavior as hypermasculine, but we don’t describe other populations’ behavior as hypermasculine.
Where did the negative perception surrounding hypermasculinity come from?
Masculinity itself doesn’t really have a good name. If we’re looking at masculinity as problematic and you throw the word hyper- on that, then it’s really bad. I think where we start out is those of us who study gender, because we’re often feminists, look down upon masculinity. We tend to come down hard on men and men’s behaviors and we tend not to do that for women. We could never look at men’s hypermasculinity and see positives in it. It wound up being the question of how do men become this horrible thing that is hypermasculine, not should we sit down and deal with our sort of negative issues around our sense that hypermasculinity is bad.
(Chicago Tribune) — When Waldo E. Johnson Jr., a University of Chicago social scientist, decided to put together a book on what’s hurting and helping young black men, he decided to collect the thoughts of several black scholars, many relatively young and with experiences not too far removed from their counterparts who are in peril. “When I started the project about five years ago, (many of the contributors) were post-doctoral candidates or just starting their academic careers,” said Johnson, an associate professor at the university’s School of Social Service Administration. “They were largely unknown but offering some really amazing empirical scholarship on interesting issues.”
As a black woman, I find it particularly odd that my lifestyle choices, finances and other habits are, all of the sudden, under the suspicious glare of the mainstream media spotlight.
If the media isn’t speculating on why as many as 70 percent of us are supposedly single, than it’s citing erroneous research on the various reasons we might not be able to get a man, including: our likelihood to catch an incurable STD, or our over-reliance on Jesus or why we are either undesirable or unlikely to date or marry outside of our race.
Just last week the media decided to pull the curtains aside again in its relentless quest to demystify the black women with a study, courtesy of NYU’s Women of Color Policy Network, which suggested that Black and Latino single mothers are more likely to have a median wealth value of next to zero.
Okay, now I am official depressed.
Call me naive, but I had no idea that we were such a mystery to the rest of America. Hell, we’ve been here, pretty much since the inception of this country, yet you would think that by all of the coverage that we just stepped off an alien ship from the planet Negrotopia (side note: if we are from the planet Negrotopia, how can I purchase a ticket back to the home planet?)
Nevertheless, after years of close examination of Black music, Black hair, Black dress and Black men, now the attention is squarely on the sistahs and we are sure getting a beating.
I think what bothers me, along with many other black women that are sick of the unwanted attention, about this newfound obsession is that it takes Black women and our “issues” out of context and places us on the defensive, to either explain or justify what’s behind the numbers. Although the numbers do not lie, it can be twisted to manufacture a reality, which is not typical, reflective or relevant to many women of color.
Moreover, this lack of balanced perspective within the mainstream media is both destructive and disruptive in its ability to promote hate towards -as well as self-hatred among – women of color. Lord knows I have had my share of useless and tense debates with many Black brothas and sistahs on the various reasons behind why 70 percent of the successful (whatever that means) black women are single.
In a piece for The Guardian UK, Petrine Archer-Straw, author of the book NegroPhilia: Avant-Garde Paris and Black Culture in the 1920s, suggested that black folks in general have historically been the objects of affection or derision in the Western culture and that much of this exploration of difference is done in such a way that best reflects white people rather than their eroticized subjects.
I am inclined to agree with that explanation, as it is clear that all this media attention has little to do with the root, which are the agendas and policies of western culture, of our “issues” rather than the symptoms.
Going back to the study on black single mothers and wealth, or lack thereof, what’s most interesting is that the study’s authors are actually interested in meaningful analysis of both the causes and the policies behind the numbers.
Among the report’s many findings is that over the last 20 years, social support for single mothers have declined significantly and programs such as The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, as well as various cuts in social programs to low income families, have made it impossible for single mothers to become economically secure.
Additionally, among all single mothers, African-American and Latino women have the highest unemployment rate at 11.7 percent and are likely (62 percent) to be over-represented in retail or service industries, which pay lower wages, have fewer benefits and are the first to go during times of company downsizing.
Ironically and most surprisingly, that bit of information is missing from many of the new reports on the study, which tells me that sometimes, it pays to read beyond the headlines.
(News One) — For decades, women have been trying to close the wage gap with men, who still earn more than their female peers with the same level of education. But one group — young, single women with no children — has closed that gap and is pulling ahead of their male counterparts. An analysis of census data by consumer research firm Reach Advisors found that women between the ages of 22 and 30, without children, had bigger paychecks in 2008 than their male peers in 47 of the 50 largest U.S. cities. Their wages were 8 percent higher, on average, but varied considerably from one city to the next.
A commentary in the “New York Times” about the state of black boys, an article on the “Detroit Free Press” about NFL star Antonio Cromartie who has trouble recalling the names of his eight kids (by six moms), and our Secretary of Education saying that we need more black male teachers in America are all key points in unpacking our brothers. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »