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March 20, 2006

What's The Matter With Black Men

I've got a Tapped post you should read on recent research around the socioeconomic conditions of black men. In short, the news is bad, not just in absolute terms, but in trends. Their condition no longer seems responsive to positive changes in the economy, which suggests that they're becoming more insulated from the wider economic picture, and thus much harder to reach positively. Since what happens to them ripples out into society by way of fatherless children, crime rates, lost talent, smaller potential markets, and so forth, this is the sort of thing people should be concerned about.

March 20, 2006 | Permalink

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Maybe, but since the Republicans don't care about blacks and the Democrats don't care about men I wouldn't hold my breath.

Posted by: James B. Shearer | Mar 20, 2006 2:54:28 PM

Ezra, a great article.
What I expected to find in the article was some new information as to causes. However, it mentioned fatherless children, low education, etc., the same reasons we have always known. The article also mentions society's unwillingness to hire ex-felons. Well, DUH!
What this boils down to is culture and values. Family and it's pressure (or lack of it) for the individual to succeed in school, stay off of drugs, and want to hone yourself into something useful and productive *does matter* after all. Having peers that jeer you as 'being white' by wanting to cooperate with authorities and teachers *matters*.

I'm not sure if this generation can be saved. However, there is another one coming up right now.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Mar 20, 2006 2:54:58 PM

It's a cycle of poverty that started when the factories left the bigger cities for the south. Working class black men got left in the dust. The trade unions, especially in big cities, are quite racist, so they weren't a place a black man could turn for a job after the factories left. The white collar world has succesful black men working in it. It's the blue collar world that has left the black man behind, and is why we see more black kids turn to crime when they figure out that school isn't their thing. White kids that don't go to college can join up with the trade unions or get hooked up with a job driving trucks at their dad's company. Racisism amongst working class white people has been a big problem for black folks, and it is something that leaders have been exploiting for years. If working class black and white guys weren't pitted against each other then the trade unions might be more open to letting more black guys in, the local trucking comapny might be a place where the young black man could find work.

I worked with young inner city black guys, and young white for 4 years when I was a counselor at a Job Corps center, this is a place where working class kids come for job training and a GED, and let me tell you the white kids that went through the program have an easier time finding work then the black guys. I know one guy that went throught the welding program, and he has had to deal with some serious in your face racisim, he is a top notch welder, certified and everything, but he has consistantly been screwed over at comapny after company, he finally started his own business down south, and hasn't looked back.

Posted by: jbou | Mar 20, 2006 4:33:45 PM

Yes, the world is unfair. So what?

...when they figure out that school isn't their thing.

What the hell does *that* mean? Choices have consequences.

If you look at the most successful blacks, their success has been attained through education. There are now too many people making it this way to be able to continue to say that it can't be done and ol' whitey is keeping them down. The emerging black middle class is showing everyone that the young peoples' hip-hop anti-whitey culture is to blame. The message should be "It's cool to learn and it's cool to stay in school and it's particularly cool to go to college". What they have now is something different.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Mar 20, 2006 5:07:37 PM

Blame the victim, right Fred? Fred you have no clue what you are talking about. You have read one article on the subject, I have spent 4 years working with the kids you mock.

Some kids just aren't suited for college, they don't like school, and the schools they have been going to weren't very good at motivatig them with their broken down oversized classrooms and old textbooks.

Secondly, this may be very hard for suburban white folks to understand, most black guys do not want to be running the streets hustling for scraps in the drug business, it just doesn't pay. That's why thousands and thousands of young black men sign up for a program like Job Corps and try to actually learn a trade, but when they run itno racisism in the building trade unions it get's discouraging to say the least.

Posted by: jbou | Mar 20, 2006 5:16:55 PM

After 24 yrs of teaching in both suburban and inner city schools. Fred is closer to the truth.

Yes there may well be descrimination faced later, but that cannot vaporize the survival imperative to hit the books now.

Posted by: Keith G | Mar 20, 2006 11:36:27 PM

Fuck Fred. He's an unreconstructed shit. A Stalinist politically, too, but on this subject just a fuckwad racist. You, too, apparently -- must have been a tough score years at work. I'd be sympathetic, except given your apparent sympathies, I can't work it up.

I grew up in a white, privileged suburb, and I got shit my whole life for being smart. Yet somehow the asshole, anti-intellectual bullies of my youth that didn't become daddy-enabled tweakers are now wealthy executives. The asshole, anti-intellectual kids I ride with on the bus (they on the way to 8AM parole hearings -- fun!) will never be executive anything.

The plural of anecdote is not data.

Not now.

Not ever.

Want data? Cf http://post.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/fryer/papers/fryer_levitt_ecls_babies.pdf

Before you click through, try this thought experiment: guess which "racial" groups do best ona large U. S. government data set that administers a test of mental functioning to children aged 8-12 months.

I already know Fred's answer. Go ahead and see what the data say.

Posted by: wcw | Mar 21, 2006 1:47:05 AM

...guess which "racial" groups do best ona large U. S. government data set that administers a test of mental functioning to children aged 8-12 months.

Who really believes that mental functioning rather than emotion has anything to do with the choices these young blacks make?

Yes there may well be descrimination faced later, but that cannot vaporize the survival imperative to hit the books now.

It is, indeed, a survival imperative. It is a proven path. For whatever reason, wcw, a self described smart white liberal (and others like minded), will never assign *any* causal effect to the self-destructive culture of these black youths. Their choices apparently have no effect on their lives whatsoever. I found the study interesting, but that study doesn't help the young at-risk black kid in *my* neighborhood. A change in attitude (culture) surely would.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Mar 21, 2006 9:33:19 AM

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