While the world/twitterverse is all caught up with Chris Brown, Rhianna and their lewd and lascivious affiliations, the Council of Great City Schools finds that only four percent of college students are Black men. Yet the prison yard runneth over! Black males that are 18 years old and older are 6 and a half times more like to be imprisoned than their White male counterparts. Everybody talking about these remixe but in 2008 African American men accounted for 36% of nation’s prison’s population and just 5% of the total college student population. At the state level, the statistics are even more depressing as over 50 percent of the inmates in the state of New York are black males. And y’all worried about cake?! oh.. ok. Step in Jesus!
BlackYouthProgram.com reported the statistics this morning, citing poverty and a lack of male role models as the root of the “ the school to prison pipeline.” While many secondary schools, community organizations, colleges/universities have implemented programming designed to support Black males in successfully pursuing college/graduate degrees, these efforts must also be supplemented by family and community involvement and engagement with successful Black males. Many colleges/universities have implemented program sspecifically designed to recruit and retain Black men of all ages and socioeconomic statuses. Some have been successful at addressing the issue on a micro scale but we’ve still yet to develop/sustain efforts that will combat the problem on a larger, national scale.
According to Mr. Patrick Johnson, community civility liaison at Mohawk Valley Community College “These young black males need positive Black male role models not only at home but a place that they frequent which is (secondary) school. If that (school) is a limited experience ( a lack of role models) , it creates an easy pipeline from public schools to prison”. Johnson also credits the disparity of black men in college to a failure to promote Black leadership and positive representation of Black people in our communities.
Do I have the answers? No! I'm not on a soapbox or judging anybody over their interest in the latest entertainments news. I’m just here to remind us all (self included) to take inventory of our priorities. Where are we devoting our attention and efforts? Yes, Chrhiannagate is a good messy story that can make for some decent conversation but at the end of the day those children are going to do what they want to do regardless of our opinions. Why not focus on an issue that really warrants/requires our attention. Chris and Rhianna have their issues but let’s be honest, they also have jobs and very comfortable celebrity lives. They’ve made it clear that they are not interested in serving as role models or examples of civility or healthy relationships. If they want to ruin their lives/careers I say… Let have! Education, on the other hand, is gift. It’s an opportunity that most of us still have some form access to. If we play our cards right we can develop a knowledge/base skills set that will improve the conditions of our lives and our communities. These statistics show that almost all of our Black men are positioned to fall through the cracks. This is a big deal. Damn the birthday cake and whoever licking the icing off.. Let’s do something about it #ImJustSaying
For more statistics and for more information on The Council of Great City Schools check out the linksbelow.