All Articles Tagged "black youth"
Booze and binge drinking — it’s the stuff hip hop videos are made of, along with a disproportionate number of advertisements African-American youth are exposed to, a new study shows.
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are shedding new light on a longstanding concern that alcohol marketers are honing in (and cashing in) on African-American youth and that this population is more exposed to the pervasive messages than any other group.
Read the report at BlackVoices.com.
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It isn’t a myth that black youth are being left behind. It is a reality and a new study, “One in Seven: Ranking Youth Disconnection in the 25 Largest Metro Areas,” has the evidence. The study looked at the number of youth who are disconnected in America. We aren’t talking hi-tech disconnected, but socially disconnected. The government defines a disconnected youth as one who is not in school or working.
“One in Seven” found that youth disconnection is highest in the largest metro areas of the U.S., meaning that African-American teens are the most impacted. According to “One in Seven,” 5.8 million young adults or one in seven young adults, ages 16 to 24, are socially adrift. The study was conducted by social scientist Sarah Burd Sharps, who said in a press release for the study she co-authored with Kristen Lewis, “One in Seven is a wake-up call to this country. Disconnection can affect everything from earnings and financial independence to physical and mental health, and even marital prospects.”
AOL reports, that the study discovered “African Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 have the highest rate of youth disconnection at 22.5 percent, a figure that holds significant monetary implications beyond any one racial or ethnic group. Last year alone, youth disconnection cost taxpayers $93.7 billion in government support and lost tax revenue.”
The study didn’t just leave it at presenting the statistics; it also gave recommendations for stopping youth disconnection. It suggests providing “meaningful support and guidance both to young people aiming for a four-year bachelor’s degree and to those whose interests and career aspirations would be better served by relevant, high-quality career and technical education certificates and associate’s degrees.” Lewis concluded in the press release, “In today’s economy, everyone needs some education beyond high school, but as a society, we need to rethink the ‘college-for-all’ mantra that devalues and stigmatizes career and technical education. Instead, we should provide robust pathways to postsecondary certificates or associate degree programs for those who choose this route.”
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After reading about the Trayvon Martin story last week, it really hasn’t been sitting well with me.
Trayvon Martin was shot and killed back in February in his father’s gated community by neighborhood watch leader, George Zimmerman. He was only 17-years old.
Martin was an unarmed black child and only had a bag of skittles and Arizona Ice Tea on him.
This story touches me because it happens way too often. That kid could have been my cousin, my brother, my best friends. I just can’t. All I can do is continue to spread awareness. This child deserves justice. This just wasn’t another cop kills armed black kid story. This was a man who took upon himself to kill an unarmed kid, instead of waiting for the police, after he was instructed to do so.
Zimmerman currently hasn’t been arrested because he is saying that he shot Martin in self-defense.
There has been a lot of chatter online about whether Zimmerman’s self-defense case is actually legitimate. Some people believe that he had every right to protect himself; others believe that he had no reason to take on the cop’s job.
My mom has 20 + years of criminal justice experience, she’s an NYPD cop who works in one of the roughest neighborhoods in NYC. My mom didn’t have to read any book or take a class to know what happened to that kid was a tragedy and what Zimmerman did was the epitome of a racially motivated attack.
I know what it’s like to be afraid to go into certain neighborhoods because I’m black. I know what it feels like to go into some high end retail store and be followed around by the white employees like I’m going to steal their overpriced items. Being black in America still means you’re a criminal by default for some folks. Trayvon Martin could have been my future nephew, or future son. I fear one day, if I were to ever bear a son, he must live everyday with the fear that some crazy lunatic will shoot him in cold blood because the perception America still holds on to when it comes to our black and brown babies.
There’s a petition going around on Change.org, started by Martin’s parents, to persecute Zimmerman for the murder of their son.
On the petition the parents describe their son:
Trayvon was our hero. At the age 9, Trayvon pulled his father from a burning kitchen, saving his life. He loved sports and horseback riding. At only 17 he had a bright future ahead of him with dreams of attending college and becoming an aviation mechanic. Now that’s all gone.
This is truly a heartbreaking case and I can’t even phantom what his family is going through. Trayvon Martin didn’t deserve to be shot down like an animal, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
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(Christian Science Monitor) — State police are roaming the Wisconsin State Fair in Milwaukee, looking for teenage troublemakers. Philadelphia is stepping up enforcement of a curfew for teens in the Center Citybusiness district. Chicago police have beefed up patrols along the city’s “Miracle Mile” district in response to recent teenage “flash robs,” some which police say were orchestrated via social media. What connects the three city crackdowns are teen-perpetrated crimes that are part opportunistic, part thrill-seeking, and, some residents fear, part racially motivated: dozens of black teenagers collectively targeting, and attacking, white people they don’t even know. Resentment fueled by dogged segregation, poor unemployment opportunities for young black men, and historic inequalities may all be playing into an atmosphere of racial discontent, sociologists say.
After Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in professional baseball, African-Americans continued to excel in the field for many years — but are dwindling in numbers today. What was once America’s greatest pastime spawned Hall of Famers like Roy Campanella, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, plus many other great African-American legends. But despite this rich history, black youth today are focused more on the glitzy trappings of football and basketball. Their synergies with hip-hop have led young African-Americans away from baseball, known for its more conservative crowd. This decline in interest has contributed to the fact that there are fewer black American baseball players than ever. The Boston Globe reports:
We’re always a bit surprised when a young baseball prospect turns out to be African-American.
“It hurts, it really does, to see the decline of the sport,’’ says San Diego Padres second baseman Orlando Hudson, one of the dwindling number of African-American major league players. “To think that our baseball ancestors put up such great numbers and stood for so much and how much they went through in this great game.’’
Once upon a time, baseball was the city game, for all races. There was always a field or lot somewhere. Playing baseball was a standard way of life. It can easily be argued that, in the first 50 or 60 years of the 20th century, baseball was, by far, the most popular sport for African-Americans.
“I’ve had kids come up to me and ask why I’m playing that white man’s game,’’ sighs Hudson.
Hudson works to reverse this trend through his program Around the Mound, which promotes baseball to inner city youth. But the competition to gain interest in baseball’s slow-paced game is rough. Training for baseball emphasizes slow growth over the exciting expression of raw talent witnessed in the NBA. African-American kids are enchanted by the prospect of breaking into basketball right out of high school using innate skills. And very few baseball luminaries receive the massive contracts offered to the brightest of the NFL. By comparison the understated life of a baseball player seems unappealing.
But playing baseball over more flashy sports has it’s advantages. According to Hudson, “We make the most money,” and the sport is far less damaging to the body. The overall quality of life for the players is better, as they receive daily perks like better food in their club houses. Ironically, baseball is less glamorous, but is considered the preferred deal both financially and personally by professional athletes. It would be a shame for black American players to miss out.
Worse than African-American athletes turning down a better way of life would be seeing our pioneering legacy in baseball die. Black Americans made inroads into the sport so that players who are Dominican or Asian would not have to face the same racial barriers we did. Following in the footsteps of African-American greats who battled their way to the mound is an opportunity our youth are entitled to enjoy. Baseball is not “the white man’s game.” We paid the price to make it ours, too.
(Los Angeles Times) — Young black and Latino men lag behind their contemporaries in nearly every measure of educational attainment, with many failing to attend college or earn degrees and large numbers facing the prospect of unemployment or incarceration. The findings are included in two reports released at a briefing Monday by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center. It was hosted by Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research in Cambridge, Mass. The reports cull census data, academic research and in-depth interviews to paint a bleak picture of the educational experiences of young men across four racial and ethnic groups: African Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Latinos and Native Americans.
(Chicago Tribune) — Stevie Powell pulled his maroon minivan to the curb next to a weedy empty lot in Englewood. ”Five minutes,” he warned, as Dimonte Pryor, 19, slid open the door and sauntered to his house. Powell, a big man with a quiet voice and the shambling gait of an overgrown kid, didn’t want any delays. He was driving Pryor and Davonte Flennoy, 19, to a formalwear store to be fitted for prom tuxedos. Powell is not their father. He is their advocate, a key role in the intensive mentoring program that has been a linchpin in the Chicago Public Schools’ vaunted anti-violence initiative. He waited for Pryor. In the back seat, Flennoy idly twisted a lock of hair. Pop. Pop. Powell scanned the street. “Did that sound like shots?” he asked. ”I don’t know,” said Flennoy, unruffled. “Could be someone putting nails on their roof.” Pryor came out, smoking a cigarette. He had changed clothes. Instead of his school uniform polo shirt, he was wearing a white T-shirt bearing the image of a young man with a cocky grin in front of a glowing white gate. Spray-painted letters on the back read, “RIP D-LO.”
(ThyBlackMan) — There are those who are angered and surprised by the violence of urban “Flash Mobs” (quickly forming groups of young people using technology to organize), especially crowds of young Black men, descending on mostly White, affluent downtown American cities. However, if we analyze this phenomenon, it is not so surprising. In fact, it is highly predictable. While there is no justification for young Black men to rob and beat people of any race, the activities of flash mobs are easily understandable in the context of recent social history and current economic conditions. Most of these young men are poor, desperate and hopeless. They come from broken families and broken communities. They have been failed by their schools and by social and faith organizations in their communities. They don’t have jobs and many of them will never have jobs. They live at the bottom rung of society. The kind of havoc they wreak among us through “flash mobbing” is the kind of havoc they have lived with their entire young lives.
(AP) — Minority youth spend more than half their day consuming media content, a rate that’s 4.5 hours greater than their white counterparts, according to a Northwestern University report released Wednesday. Television remains king among all youth, but among minorities who spend 13 hours per day consuming media of various types, electronic gadgets such as cell phones and iPods increasingly are the way such content gets delivered, the report found. ”Children, Media and Race: Media Use Among White, Black, Hispanic and Asian American Children” was touted by researchers as the first national study to focus exclusively on children’s media use by race and ethnicity. Minority youth media consumption rates outpace their white counterparts by two hours when it comes to TV and video viewership, approximately an hour for music, up to 1.5 hours for computer use, and 30 to 40 minutes for playing video games.
A recent University of Chicago study on 100 young African-Americans from the local community concluded that there is a lack of political activity in this population. Growing up with a black president has failed to inspire increased participation in politics, particularly if respondents are low-income. Other factors such as religious participation affect how black youth choose to engage. Auriel Jamison, a student who participated in the study related:
“Those low-income youth who are involved in politics do so in a traditional way opposed to youth from upper-income households who participate in non-traditional ways… We found that youth from low-income homes felt alienated from the government and Black youth overall felt like second-class citizens.”
The study found that traditional ways for poorer blacks to participate include actually voting (where eligible), while more affluent blacks get involved through social media, engaging in protests via web sites. Interestingly, African-American youth who are religiously active were also found to be more likely to engage in our political process.
This University of Chicago study was conducted actively with the high school students, who participated with the researchers in its development, in order to teach them empowering skills. The inspiration behind these efforts is the hope that by helping black youth understand how to do research, they can use new information to better engage politically. The insights gleaned through the study might spur our teens to counter the trend of alienation with positive action. Let’s hope they create new paths to integration and become black political leaders of the future.