This not just another shower of negativity about African Americans, but with a 62% high school graduation rate, 4% of black men in prison and 15.4% unemployment rate, do we need a national black intervention?
It is said that we don’t manufacture anything in this country anymore, but I beg to differ. I feel we are manufacturing and assembly line of failure conditions for African Americans in general and for young blacks in particular.
Drop Out Rate
A Time magazine article by Andrew J. Rotherham on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010 indicated that only 62% of African American students graduated high school in 2008. You can say this is the beginning of feeding the raw material into the assembly line. In a world where even a 4-year college degree does not guarantee someone the security of being employable, having less than a high school diploma is a recipe for constant struggle.
The lack of a high school diploma does not mean someone is automatically on the road to prison or unemployment, but the conditions that existed for someone in that situation to be successful have greatly diminished. An economy based upon an abundance of industrial, construction and agricultural jobs is a distant memory. The options are few for the unskilled and uneducated.
Prison The Human Warehouse
An article published on ABCnews.go.com by Pierre Thomas and Jason Ryan on
June 6, 2008 stated that, “Four percent of U.S. black males were in jail or prison last year, compared to 1.7 percent of Hispanic males and .7 percent of white males. In other words, black males were locked up at almost six times the rate of their white counterparts.”
Now some will say the prison rate and dropout rate can’t be necessarily connected, but the conditions for someone with limited options to become swept up in activity that may lead them to incarceration is logically higher. The inequity of drug sentencing laws are a factor, but being involved in activity for the laws to become a factor has more impact.
Next we have the issue of the unemployment rate in the black community. Being at 15.7% for the month of November 2010 compared to 8.4% for whites according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. That rate for black unemployment is 86% higher than whites and that is getting very close to double. An article by William Alden that was published on 09-30-10 in the Huffington Post indicated that those in prison don’t count in the unemployment rate. Can you imagine the unemployment rate if the African Americans in prison were counted in the statistics.
This seems to be a crisis by normal definitions and some other issues have not even been included here. The question is what can be done to stop the movement in these negative directions. There is not a group to march against, sit down to stage or organization to boycott. It is us. We need an intervention with ourselves. How do we do it, I’m open to suggestions.