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|Reports offer grim forecast for young black men
New studies find them falling further out of labor force, mainstream society
Michael E. Ross
Young African-American men, such as these inmates at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic, Calif., are part of a picture of continuing despair for many young black American men, according to new books.
At a time when the U.S. economy is on the upswing and more people are finding work, young African American men are falling further behind.
That’s the grim portrait painted by three new and forthcoming books by scholars at Columbia, Georgetown and Princeton universities. The picture isn't new, but the depths of its despair and pathology are.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there are about 5 million black men in America between the ages of 20 and 39. The new books, and an earlier one from Harvard, find them losing ground in mainstream American society, despite advances made by black women, presumably part of the same socioeconomic experience.
This vexing problem, caused by a variety of social ills, is equally vexing when scholars consider what causes it.
Among the studies' findings:
Rates of imprisonment for young black men escalated throughout the 1990s and continued climbing well into the current decade. About 16 percent of black men in their twenties who were not college students were either in jail or in prison.
African Americans are seven times more likely to go to prison or jail than whites.
Almost 60 percent of black male high school dropouts in their early thirties have spent time in prison.
The percentage of young jobless black men continues to increase, part of a trend that generally hasn't abated in decades. In 2000, about 65 percent of black male high-school dropouts had no jobs, either because they couldn't find work or because they were in jail. By 2004, the studies found that number had grown to 72 percent. The numbers for young black men were higher than for whites and Hispanics similarly affected.
Making matters worse, a forthcoming book, which includes a study of nearly 1,500 private employers in New York City, found that black job applicants with no criminal records weren't any more likely to get a job than white applicants who were just out of prison.
Persistence of imbalance
“A lot of people are skeptical that African Americans still face discrimination in the job market. But even in a diverse city like New York, the evidence of discrimination is unmistakable,” said Devah Pager, a Princeton sociology professor, in announcing “Punishment and Inequality in America.” The book, written by Princeton's Bruce Western, will be published in June.
“The 1990s were an eye-opener,” said Harry Holzer, a professor of public policy at Georgetown University. “You had the strongest labor market in 30 years; all things being equal, those were good times for African Americans. A lot of black moms were entering the labor market, but the dads kept dropping out.”
Holzer's new book, "Reconnecting Disadvantaged Young Men,” was co-written with two other scholars. The third book is “Black Males Left Behind,” edited by Columbia University professor Ronald B. Mincy. A 2004 book, “ Dropouts in America,” found similarly dire circumstances for young black men.
Holzer senses the persistence of a chilling condition among young black American men, what might be called pre-emptive despair.
“You see this disconnection problem, with young boys in their adolescent years starting to drift away,” he said.
“The girls are graduating more. But it's almost as if these young boys look down the road and sense a bleak future and they disconnect early — a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Center for the Education of Women
Project Management: From Conceptualization and Planning to Implementation and Evaluation
Monday, April 24
CEW, 330 E. Liberty Street
Sandra Coleman, Executive Management Consultant
Learn the elements of effective program development and project management from conceptualization and planning to implementation and evaluation. This workshop will identify the necessary tools and techniques to produce consistently successful projects.
|The Ginsberg Center is pleased to announce that Nesha Haniff has been selected to receive the Ginsberg Center Award for Community Service & Social Action's Outstanding Faculty Member Award.
"Charity" is made up of dialysis patients, family members of patients and dialysis medical staff from
the U of M Livonia.
The group was formed by Karen Schlueter, a UM Patient Care Technician who wanted to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM).
The U of M dialysis unit enthusiastically participates in the NKFM’s Detroit Zoo Kidney Walk each year and the choir hopes to help the unit become the #1 fundraising unit for the walk, which is on May 21.
The choir practices weekly and hopes to travel to different churches while raising money and educating others about the two leading causes of kidney failure, diabetes and high blood pressure.
“Charity” will be performing at the Detroit Zoo Kidney Walk on May 21. With more than 3,500 people expected at this year’s walk, the group should have a lot of enthusiastic audience members.
David Lyles,34, Director of the choir and kidney patient, started the group after Karen asked him to write a song about how he feels being a kidney patient. She also encouraged other dialysis patients to join the choir to show the world that they are people who are capable of doing a lot of good!
David wrote the song Reach Out and Love Somebody specifically for the choir. The choir consists of 4 kidney patients, including David, Warren Harris,41, Christy Porter,38, Denise Sewell,51, plus 2 UM employees, and several friends and family members.
If you would like to help Charity Choir to Make a Difference,
Give generously from your heart!
“Charity” is an inspirational group of people who are doing something they love in order to change the world...