We have all heard the term ‘angry black man’. And the presumption is everyone should know what “He” is angry about.
Given some of the statistics published about personal growth and achievement, “He” definitely has a number of things to be angry about. Author Tamika Thompson outlined a few facts in a recent article. Thompson notes,
‘when it comes to young, African American men, the numbers are staggering and the reality is sobering. Young Black men — across the board — score below their counterparts in other racial and ethnic groups when it comes to graduation rates, literacy rates and college preparedness. And many African American men, in turn, are virtually locked out of employment and are filling up the nation’s prisons in disproportionate numbers.
Young black men as a group score lower than other racial groups in terms of –
- Graduation Rates
- Literacy Rates
- College Preparedness
If Black lives really matter, we as a community, should figure out why poor outcomes like this are so common. To put a finer point on this, we all know the results listed above lead to a tough existence in any society or economy. And, with technology increasingly becoming part of every facet in our lives and economy, less education is a sentence to little or no opportunity. Hopelessness.
A Pew Research Center study published in 2014 showed the unemployment rates for those with college degrees at a third of the rate of those with only a high school degree (3.8% vs 12.2%). And for those not completing high school, the unemployment rate is sure to be much higher. Keep in mind, the statistics in the chart include all ethnic groups, not only young African American men. The numbers for young African American men will be worse!
Unemployment Rate By Education…
This performance does not bode well for the black community as a whole, already at the lower end of the economic ladder. And it appears the situation will probably accelerate without something to change the trajectory of outcomes. Below are few other statistics listed in Thompson’s article:
- 54% of African Americans graduate from high school, compared to more than three quarters of white and Asian students. (More economic hardship and desperate outcomes)
- In 2007, nearly 6.2 million young people were high school dropouts. Every student who does not complete high school costs our society an estimated $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes, and productivity. (Actually this is much worse than it sounds. In addition to lost earning, productivity and tax revenue, these individuals are more likely to need and use services at a higher rate which other taxpayer’s fund. A double whammy)
- The majority of the 2.3 million people incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails are people of
color, people with mental health issues and drug addiction, people with low levels of
educational attainment, and people with a history of unemployment or underemployment. (Again, taxpayers are footing the bill for services that are a drag on our society’s productivity)
Young Black Men – Looking In The Mirror Is Your Best Chance
At OAC, we believe the turnaround has to come from within the black community. And, it’s not because we don’t care that we write this. It’s because we do care we write this. It’s because no program coming from any level of government will provide the determination, focus and the individual dreams required to fuel success. President Reagan famously said ‘the most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help’. And, for the blacks in the U.S that appears to be the case.
According to a report released by the Urban Institute (as noted http://yourblackworld.net), the state of the African-American family is MUCH worse today than it was in the 1960’s when the Great Society initiative was started. Consider the following:
- In 1950, 17 percent of African-American children lived in a home with their mother but not their father. By 2010 that had increased to 50 percent.
- In 1965, only eight percent of childbirths in the Black community occurred out-of-wedlock. In 2010 that figure was 41 percent; and today, the out-of-wedlock childbirth in the Black community sits at an astonishing 72 percent.
- The number of African-American women married and living with their spouse was recorded as 53 percent in 1950. By 2010, it had dropped to 25 percent.
- In 1954, 79 percent of African-American men were employed. By 2011 that had decreased to 57 percent.
Some Advice For Young Black Men
Just Do It! Like the ad says. Dream big. Set goals. Expect to work hard. Expect not to win all of the time. Be humble and try again…again…and again. You are worth it and when you reach your destination, you will be gratified, proud and most likely ready to help the next generation succeed.
Understand nothing the government does is going to make you a success. There may be a little help here and there, but it will not make you successful. Your attitude, effort and service to others will make the difference in your life. The government can only give things – it’s never very much and always taken from others – a sure way to build resentment. Success will come when you find a way to serve others in a way that has value to them. The more satisfied customers you have, the greater your success will be. If you are waiting for the Democrats, Republicans, Al Sharpton, Barrack Obama, Louis Farrakhan or any other person other than yourself, you will be waiting a long time.
Change comes from within. Don’t allow external forces to alter your direction or convince you that you are victim. Studies show the lowest 5% of Americans are better off economically than 68% if the worlds population. That means starting out your better off that about five billion people. That’s not a bad starting place.
Have Perspective – those who blame the government, racism other groups of people are using you to help create a job for themselves. They are ringmasters. Make great speeches and are very talented at saying provocative things to create a crowd. Chances are very good they are not there for you. The reality the government is not capable of improving your daily life and providing fulfillment.
And, for those who think other races have it out for you, don’t flatter yourself. Most people are busy with their own lives and own challenges. Sorry, but it’s true more often than not. Is our society perfect? Nope. Are there racists out there who don’t like you? Sure. There are also people who don’t like the Micks, Paddys, Wops, Dagos, Goombahs, Greasers, Guineas, Guidos, Limeys, Krauts, Pollacks, Russkis, Canucks, Chinks, Japs, Nips, Gooks, Slopes, Spics, Wetbacks, Beaners, Tacoheads, Redskins, Injuns, Squaws. And, there a lot of people who target Gringos, Crackers, Honkys, Peckerwoods, Rednecks, Hillbillys, White Trash, Trailer Trash, Hicks, Hayseeds, Bumpkins, too.
And, there are a lot more derogatory names for everyone. So ignore the ignorant and ignore the people who try to make you a permanent victim.
Focus Your Anger At The Right Things
If you have to get mad – pick the right things to be mad about:
- Don’t let the Al Sharpton’s of the world convince you everyone is trying to hold you down. America is looking for young African American men committed to success for themselves and their families. Barrack Obama was elected because of the whites that voted for him. The same way President Obama was celebrated, you too will be celebrated as you succeed. But you have to do the work.
- Don’t emulate people who are on the fringe of society as a whole. Rappers who are racists themselves, sing about killing cops or refer to women, women like your Grandmother, Mother, Sisters or Daughters, as whores, and are violent are not worth respect. The person doesn’t have to be African American. Remember, President Obama didn’t have another African American President to speak with. He just did it. With a plan.
- Get mad at yourself for not taking a step back and picking a goal, and figuring out how to achieve it. There are a lot of directions to go. Start talking to guidance counselors at school, the pastor at your church or successful people you respect. They will all give you some ideas to build upon.
- Get mad at yourself if you are not giving 110% at school. No matter what you want to achieve, begins with education. Now more than ever. Many young people respect professional athletes. But even the most talented and genetically fortunate pro had to commit to thousands of hours of training as they grew up to achieve even the lowest level of professional success. YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE WILL TO SUCCEED. If you believe you are a victim, you will be a victim the rest of your life. If you believe you have a head start on 5 billion people already, you are off to a great start. Now get to work.
We want you to be productive part of Our American Culture.