Skip to comments.On campus, grim statistics for African-American men
Posted on 01/05/2004 1:53:31 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
African-Americans should be afraid - very afraid.
We have many reasons to be afraid, but two that should cause the most alarm are the low number of black men in college and the low number of black men who are graduating from college.
Nationally, a mere quarter of the 1.9-million black men between 18 and 24 attended college in 2000, the last year the American Council on Education reported such statistics. By contrast, 35 percent of black women in the same age group and 36 percent of all 18- to 24-year-olds were attending college.
A grimmer statistic, according to the American Council on Education, is that the graduation rate of black men is the lowest of any population. Only 35 percent of the black men who enrolled in NCAA Division I schools in 1996 graduated within six years. White men, on the other hand, graduated at a rate of 59 percent; Hispanic men, 46 percent; American Indian men, 41 percent; and black women, 45 percent.
Where are the black men, why are so few on our college campuses and why are so few graduating?
"In 1999 there were 757,000 black men in federal, state and local prisons," according to the Autumn 2003 issue of the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. "In 1999 . . . there were 604,200 African-American men enrolled in higher education in the United States. Therefore, there were 25 percent more black men in prison in the United States than were enrolled in institutions of higher education. Today, black men make up 41 percent of the inmates in federal state, and local prison, but black men are only 4 percent of all students in American institutions of higher education."
Many black and white educators at major colleges and universities, including Amherst, historically black Howard, Swarthmore and Wesleyan, are trying to help end this crisis. Several years ago, the University of Georgia established the African-American Male Initiative, a research program with the purpose of removing the hurdles to college enrollment and graduation for black men.
The obstacles to black males earning college degrees are many, some seemingly intractable. They include inferior public education before college, the absence of black men as role models, low expectations from teachers and other adults, low self-esteem, black men's own low aspirations and their tendency to drop out of high school in disproportionate numbers.
Yes, these are serious obstacles to college enrollment and graduation for African-American men, but, taken together, they represent the least important part of the problem. A role model, for example, means nothing or next to nothing to a child who is ill-prepared to emotionally and intellectually apprehend the significance of the role model's accomplishments.
The seeds for success, especially academic success, are most effectively planted at home. The presence of books in the home and parents who read and discuss ideas and current affairs almost always influence children to read and to care about things of the mind. Too many African-American homes are headed by parents, single or otherwise, who lack interest in the long-term efficacy of education, who do not insist that their children learn.
The efforts of the University of Georgia and others are to be applauded. But a parenting initiative has to be established, an initiative that forces parents and children to become introspective and diligent. At the core of the black male crisis is our failure to assume total responsibility for the destiny of our children - our future. Nearly 100 years ago, educator and civil rights attorney Charles Hamilton Houston said of black people and education: "Without education, there is no hope for our people and without hope, our future is lost."
By any means necessary, black adults must teach black children to take hold of their lives. While we should continue to acknowledge the debilitating effects of racism, we cannot afford to live as victims. We must forge a world of self-determination parallel to that of society's racism, an evil that is not disappearing any time soon.
External programs, such as Georgia's African-American Male Initiative, are good things, but they cannot replace black people's own will to succeed academically. Until we look inside ourselves and change our perspective on education, the grim statistics will continue to pile up, and our men will fall further behind and the dreaded cliche - black males are "an endangered species" - will become a reality.
We should be afraid - very afraid.
July 2001 - Bill Maxwell: We have no leaders to save our black men ***In every part of the nation -- Miami, Cincinnati, Chicago, Newark, Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans, Houston, Atlanta -- many black males seem determined to self-destruct. We will not gain ground by blaming whites for this sorry state of affairs. This is a crisis of our own making, and only we can fix it. Our collective lethargy -- our lack of rage -- is the greatest sin. Fixing this problem should be at the top of every black person's agenda.***
Clarence Page: What black parents must do now ... ***With those findings and many others in mind, we should never make too much of the impact that teen culture may have on achievement. But we certainly shouldn't make too little of it, either.
Your attitude, in large measure, determines your altitude, as I once heard Jesse Jackson say. Your first step in achieving is to believe that you can achieve.
There is no shame in the mere fact that some groups show different levels of interest and performance in education and other skills. It is only a shame if the low performers don't do something to improve.
Asian-Americans outperform whites academically, for example, yet no one blames racism for white "underachievement." Similarly, the rest of us should not reject useful insights about our children, either, even when it is a little painful to hear.
By facing obvious realities openly and honestly, we can begin to encourage a self-image among black youths that will help them to value their brains as much as their basketballs or the "bling-bling" and "ching-ching" of rap stars on MTV and BET.***
October 2003 - Walter Williams: No excuses part II*** Here's my question: Do parents, particularly black parents, know or even care about what's being done to their children in the name of education? Do they know that the A or B on their children's report card is worthless? Don't say the solution lies in more money unless you're prepared to show me great results with expenditures of $15,000 per student in Massachusetts and $13,000 in Washington, D.C., and skyrocketing education budgets elsewhere.***
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I couldn't understand a word he said.
I couldn't understand a word he said.
You're probably better off not knowing what he said.
I'm sure that many people will be enjoying that tune even a century from now.
said Burnside's died,
So I turned around,
Walked out the door,
an' I'm never gonna do it again. Aahhh'm a
Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas, and you
oughta see me do my stuff.
With all of the affirmative action and minority scholarships, the Negro College Fund, and the intense recruitment of blacks for diversity, there is no reason for the grim statistics quoted other than the obvious. The Bell Curve states the facts and one cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
|a parenting initiative has to be established, an initiative that forces parents and children to become introspective and diligent.
What sort of "initiative" is it that "forces" parents to do this or that with their children? Who is in charge of such an initiative, and what sort of things do they get to "force" parents to do?
Curiousity and a thirst for knowledge must come from inside; these are qualities that cannot be "forced" on anyone.
I dunno. Sounds to me like just another gubment program where the smart people wearing suits want to play at animal husbandry with the po' folks. Haven't we had enough of those already? Isn't that how we got here in the first place?
If Maxwell would get off of racism as a crutch, I think we could have a meeting of the minds.
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Such as grades or studying or working?
What is the statistic now for fatherless children in the African-American home?
Talk about the proverbial Elephant in the Living Room!
Fix the African-American family first and then complain about college graduation statistics. ..the truth hurts sometimes!
inferior public education before college -- Destroy the unions, end government invovlement in education
the absence of black men as role models -- Blacks need to work on that
low expectations from teachers and other adults
-- "other adults"? A flaw in black culture, they need to fix it
low self-esteem -- Got it backwards. Achieve success and self-esteem will follow
black men's own low aspirations -- Blacks need to work on that
and their tendency to drop out of high school in disproportionate numbers. -- Blacks need to work on that
I don't see Racism as a contributing factor here at all.
Buried in the article is this statistic which I find very telling. Even among the "privileged" there is a 41% failure rate. There is something very wrong with the whole system of college admissions if this is true.
"black men make up 41 percent of the inmates in federal state, and local prison"
Trust me, a lack of rage is not the problem, and more rage is not going to fix it.
Exactly what are young men supposed to aspire to when the only males in their lives are occasional studs who sleep over with mama? Since Daniel Patrick Moynihan issued his warning that the black family was in danger of collapse, the very worst has happened. Today 70% of black kids are born into single-parent female-headed "families," and many of the others end up in broken homes as well. Without male guidance, the girls turn out like their mothers and the boys end up on the streets until the police stick them in jail. It's no surprise at all. The few who make it out of this madness are the surprises.
The illegitimacy rate among African-Americans in 1965 was 26%. Today, the rate is 68% and climbing. In inner cites, the figure is typically in excess of 80%. The illegitimacy rate among white Americans has risen tenfold, from 2.29% in 1960 to 22% today.
It was the welfare state that killed the black family.
There are plenty of black men (and women) out there to serve as role models. As I see it, the problem lies with the media and politicians who would rather pander to the Sharptons and Jacksons than extol the virtues of the men and women who have climbed the ladder through hard work and perseverance.
I remember a few years back when the CEO of one of our major food companies died (can't remember which company). The man was black and I was surprised I had never heard of him.
I also remember one black guy I saw interviewed on TV and the gist of what he was saying was along Jeffersonian lines: "What do I care if some fool doesn't like me strictly because of my skin color? I'm not going to let fools like that stop my quest for excellence."
I do agree with the author on the importance of reading in the house. Books, newspapers and magazines are more important than TV. Too many parents of all colors and persuasions use TV as a babysitting device.
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