Fact Sheet: Outcomes for Young, Black Men

By Tamika Thompson

Behind every fact is a face. Behind every statistic is a story. Behind every catch phrase is a young person whose future will be lost if something is not done immediately to change his or her reality. And 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.

Below we’ve highlighted some of the stats that show the impact that structural inequality has had on Black men and boys in America. We have also embedded documents that allow you to explore in detail the outcomes for young Black men in this country, including a compelling report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation that emphasizes the connection between early childhood literacy and dropout rates, a look at the achievement gaps between Black and white public school students from the Department of Education and a summary report from the newly created African American Male Achievement Task Force in the Oakland Unified School District.

Read, explore, share your thoughts below and tune in to “Too Important to Fail” on Tuesday, September 13.

–  54% of African Americans graduate from high school, compared to more than three quarters of white
and Asian students.

–  Nationally, African American male students in grades K-12 were nearly 2½ times as likely to be suspended from school in 2000 as white students.

–  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.

–  On average, African American twelfth-grade students read at the same level as white
eighth-grade students.

–  The twelfth-grade reading scores of African American males were significantly lower than
those for men and women across every other racial and ethnic group.

–  Only 14% of African American eighth graders score at or above the proficient level. These results reveal that millions of young people cannot understand or evaluate text, provide relevant details, or support inferences about the written documents they read.

–  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.

Sources (full reports can be found on the following Web sites): Alliance for Excellent EducationPenn Child Research Center, Annie E. Casey Foundation, RAND Corporation, Oakland Unified School District, Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics.

  • Klisha Jones

    This is a sad situation, that needs to be exposed. We as parents need to unify with other parents, and hold educators, elected officials, school administrators and ourselves accountable for this. People we need to rise above the partisans rhetoric in Washington DC and raise our kids. Such a crying shame!

  • Karen E. Dabney

    Yes! We must step up and end this trend! These young men would have had different outcomes had they been engaged early on. Statistics suggest they are being “turned off” toward education in school as early as 4th grade! Instead they are being educated by the mean streets where instinct and gall can be a way to make money without having to adhere to societal mores. Some of our brightest boys are dropping out to pursue a career in rhyme or crime. Many don’t have much hope for a future otherwise. And any type of support for those who do graduate from high school should not end there – whether a young man is able to attend college or not.

  • carol dlurante

    Believe me, you have just touched on a nerve. Now it is time to get to the vein!

  • Walter Simtec Simmons

    When the people wake up, things will get better. proper behavior with each other is a must in order to generate peace in the community. It takes a community to raise a child. Mother/Father pre-school teaching prepares a child to interact with others in public.

  • sam shaw

    I have read some of these comments,and if u put them all together theres your answer! most black young men are not introduced to things like going to college after high school,graduating from high school, they think those things are for the people with the new clothes,brand shoes, the athletes,well groomed classmates.most younsters dont watch television to see the informative commercials about succesful blacks,they go home and hit the streets,because there parents working or whatever,so they are not introduced! I know because i have been there! the answer to this epidemic is not your so-called educated person from a prestiguos university,but from a educated person which do not have a college degree!

  • sam shaw

    the answer lies in the everyday hardworking individual who has been there.that person knows why these young indivisuals are failing in school,dropping out,gang banging and all the other misdoings!he/she knows because they did not go to college or finish high school,but in order to be heard these days, you must have a college degree! have a forum,invite non-degreed individuals,listen to them and act upon it!!

  • Robert K. Abbott

    To me it is just unconsionable to continue this pattern. It offends me as a Christian, as an American and as a human being. The time for talking about this issue is long past. Now is the time for action. This is a tragic disaster in progress.

  • Concerned

    I place the blame those in close proximity; the Black church. Ministers no longer teach personal responsibilty or shame. No, everyone is chasing bling. Churches, once the basins of instruction, are filled with never married mothers and children with fancy names. It seems so long as one yells “JESUS!!” pretty much anything goes. So “saved” women live openly with their long term boo aka “fiance”. There is no expectation of marriage or scholarship.

    It’s easy to blame politicians but that is a cop out. It is the responsibilty of parents to raise their own kids. Morality,honor is taught at home. Two generations ago the Black community valued education, manners. Now a days? A male child needs a father. If the numbers of boys without a father are few in a communnity, that exceptation can be mitigated. When the overwhelmingly majority do not…. it is a disaster.

    A man child who has no clue as to how to be a responsible man, tend to emulate the one parent they do have; a female.

    I blame ministers because they of any institution are right in the community, they see the self destructive behavior.
    They if anyone has the attention. and trust of the Black community. It is NOT a far off politician.
    Ministers,simply, ask your conregants to view and live their lives differently. Being poor is not a excuse for criminal behavior. Indulging in fracticide, being incarcerated, failing to even learn to read, out of wedlock pregnancies…..are all a race to the bottom..

  • M. Smith

    This topic is very close to my heart. Teaching in a rural area where there are often few opportunities for children in general to find ways to engage themselves in positive adventures and to believe that the goals they once totally felt were obtainable but now view them as unreachable, is distressing. I am so moved by tonight’s episode “Too Important to Fail”. Working with students who are living in the very situations that you addressed makes me costaintly wonder, “How can we serve these children and meet their needs in ways that will carry them into the next phase of their life in a positive manner?” Having worked in a school setting as a Reading Interventionist with single gender groups, I can connect to several key facts discussed tonight. Reading and writing go hand in hand. I have had the pleasure and the honor to work with young men (and women) who are struggling readers. I have witnessed first hand how a child who had never experienced the joy of reading, suddenly find the true delight of words as their eyes danced across the pages of a book with great anticipation. Reading has a way of reaching an individual when nothing else will. Children who are taught strategies needed to engage in self-selected reading will benefit not only academically, but also emotionally. They develop a sense of self -worth. I cannot tell you the joy I feel when I witness young men who don’t even want to be in school suddenly transform and ask “Are we reading our novel today?” I also can tell you about a young man who spoke those very words. Reading became his joy. He “asked” if he could read “first”. Saddly that young man is no longer with us. He was a vicitm of a horrible crime. He was full of life. He found self-worth. Few days pass that I don’t think of him or look at the wonderful, capativating photographs I still have of him as he expressed his delight in reading, reciting, and composing with the very words he once said he hated. Our children can be saved, but we must have a yearning and the support to save them. I would like to know how those in my area of the country can continue to meet the needs of our children. Unfortunately, like so many places, our grant was cut. Where does that leave our children? Where does it leave the future of our youth?

  • Kathy

    Since reading Isabel Wilkerson’s book, “The Warmth of Other Suns,” I have been searching for the main factors that account for the failure rates of African-American students in this generation. There is nothing that is more compelling than hearing the stories of the young men and teachers in this program. Thanks for providing some of the answers,
    I was discussing poor school success rates with a friend who is a school principal. She said that even those who come from educated, well-off families do not tend to score as well on tests as their white counter-parts. I don’t understand that. She thinks that a big problem is not having greater racial diversity amongst teachers. Is this really true? If so, what explains a high percent of Asian kids succeeding? At any rate, this show should be mandatory viewing for prospective teachers in college and those in the classroom.
    As a manager of Public Heath Nurses who make home visits to young families, with the goals of improving the parent-child relationship and teaching parents how to help their child grow and develop physically and social/emotionally; a major barrier is single parents using drugs & who only seem to care about their own needs, or who were poorly parented themselves, lack self esteem, and were high school drop-outs.We have to change this downward spiral of dispair.
    I wish we had excellent, affordable, day care centers all over the USA where the child could go during the day to be safe, play and be prepared to know how to interact and to love learning; and the parent could get some therapeutic help. One great example is Dr. Terrie Rose’s “Baby Space,” in Minneapolis; they serve the poor and high-risk families in an unique way. That would also make for a good report.

  • carol durante

    For years they have been building more and more prisons. You know why, because their plan is succeeding. It is unfortunate that if you do not make good grades that you are considered illiterate. Mensa had done studies for years and even though you may not make the honor roll all you have to do is be good at something to be considered gifted, but society makes you believe that if you do not make the grade you are considered a failure. More than 6 million kids are overlooked because they may have a learning disability. What is a learning disability? It has been noted quite often that blacks learn differently from whites. I believe we learn with our right side of the brain and whites learn with their left. If this is true, then why do we continue to teach our kids by the method which they have created when we already know it is not beneficial to us? Which leads me to believe that the reason why our parents had more sense than us is because they went to segregated schools and were taught by black teachers. Something to think about. With that being said, we need to take responsibility for our own and come up with some creative ways to educated our brothers and sisters or we will continue to fufill their plan.

  • Dave Walker

    We have a mix of black and white children in our family and I see some differences – not in ability, but in learning styles. And boys across all races just need extra attention. But one thing really stands out to me: Each of our children has required a huge investment of time from both my wife and myself. My wife dedicated her life to teaching each of our children to read, write and to develop their understanding of math and algebra. It required a lot of love and a lot of dedication. It drove her mad sometimes. Teachers do not come from training programs, they come from a place of true love. It is the same place that good parents come from.

    The pain of childbirth continues for years. It is a labor of love. The beauty of it all is that anyone and everyone can do it. It doesn’t require a teaching degree. My wife taught herself algebra so she could teach her children. ANYONE can do it. Sometimes it is hard. Sometimes it is very hard. And for Black boys, the hurdles are so huge that when they get over them, they realize they can do anything; the world is their oyster!

  • Karen E. Dabney

    M. Smith (above)
    “I have witnessed first hand how a child who had never experienced the joy of reading, suddenly find the true delight of words as their eyes danced across the pages of a book with great anticipation. Reading has a way of reaching an individual when nothing else will. Children who are taught strategies needed to engage in self-selected reading will benefit not only academically, but also emotionally. They develop a sense of self -worth. I cannot tell you the joy I feel when I witness young men who don’t even want to be in school suddenly transform and ask “Are we reading our novel today?”
    LOVE IT! They actually light up!
    Promote Literacy! Keep a Mind Lit.

  • klambert

    The problem is that we still dont realize how important our words and teachings will make in our kids life. I learned that our people dont stress the importance of education it get out in do whateve to make a dollar not get u something that will benefit you for life. it tells us on tv everyday how to become successful but we do other wise. One thing that i learned is that you can make improvements in your life. most of us are content and are scared to venture into other things that will make life better. we got to change.

  • Lilly

    I agree with Concerned above, the Black community is producing these kids at a staggering rate, clearly the problems lie with those close to them. It is a fact from 1970’s onward the Black political leaders encourage the Black community to view White society and its social norms as racist and wrong, existing simply as a means to oppress the Black community. Very soon school, learning and achieving became a White thing and Black children would be criticized for ‘acting White’ when they became too studious or industrious. The rejection of social norms within any society will ultimately lead a group to underachieve, self destruct with rampant drug use, crime and single parent family’s. Black men are incarcerated at a disproportionate rate due to the exceptionally high crime rates within that community. The Black community in America is on the verge of self destruction. It is no longer sustainable to blame racism as a factor. The Black community must re-educate their children encourage them to realize educational achievement is not a White thing, crime is not a Black thing and the life of drugs, gangs and criminal activity will impact upon their children and their children’s children. It is time to end the vicious circle within the Black community, but real change must come within the community itself.

  • Nicky

    Hi Lilly, I agree that more positive education is needed within Black communities but I disagree with you when you say that “Black men are incarcerated at a disproportionate rate due to the exceptionally high crime rates within that community.” Simply not true. This is a negative, perpetuated stereotype that unfortunately, some people in the Black community still hold as well. However, Black men are incarcerated in disproportionate rates, particularly for drug crimes, because of profiling and targeting. To equate Black men with crime, IS the crime. Statistics continually prove that the majority of American offenders are Caucasian (for varied crimes but especially for drug crimes), however, most are not marginalized, prosecuted, targeted, hunted or even engaged at all. Disproportionality here cannot be justified by any other means except institutionalized RACISM. As we know, especially with the Klan numbers in full growth and growing everyday, racism is still in full swing.

    “Most people are surprised to learn that African American youth are significantly less likely to use tobacco, alcohol or drugs than White or Hispanic Americans. Large-scale national surveys like the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R) find that African Americans are significantly less likely to have substance use disorders than their White counterparts. Given that African Americans are a statistical minority in the US, the overwhelming majority of drug abusers will therefore be White. Nonetheless, African Americans are disproportionately targeted, arrested, and jailed for drug related crimes. People use the pathological stereotype of the Black junkie or drug dealer to rationalize the imbalanced scales of justice. We stuff our prisons with “those people” to propagate an illusion of safety. We like to think the world is fair, so if Black people are overrepresented in jails for drug-related crimes, we think they must be locked up because deserve it, perpetuating the pathological stereotype.” -Monnica Williams, Ph.D.

  • Danny Banks

    It sounds like Sam Shaw does not like educated people. He thinks everyone should learn from the school of hard knocks. You should have gone to college, Sam! Life might have been easier for you!

  • Reborn

    I take partial blame of whats going on with the youth in the inner city of Baltimore. I was in there shoes and socks at one time.They seen brothers like me doing the same things they are doing now. I feel there pain!! So whats the answer to saveing our youth? Only god knows!! But iall share this because i instill this theory with the kids i mentor. When you show them something different and good, then they will want to do something different and great.. So once agian, i appologize to the youth if you are reading this. For me there is no more talk, its time for recreation..

  • Lackawanda

    Lets wake up as Black people, before its too late.. “We must wake up and seriously confront the reality of the situation at hand..We must become reactive, not complacent towards our plight”( “The Unfinished Business of the Civil Rights Movement: Failure of America’s Public Schools to Properly Educate its African American Student Populations”)…

  • Kolby Riser

    This info. is very helpful. i had to type a paper on african american literacy rate and this helped A LOT!!

  • Chris

    More government programs are not the answer!! 72% of the black children are born to unwed mothers. 70% of juveniles in state operated institutions have no father. [US Department of Justice, Special Report, Sept. 1988]
    85% of youths in prisons grew up in a fatherless home. [Fulton County Georgia jail populations, Texas Department of Corrections, 1992]

  • Lackawanda

    In 1913 more than 70% of the Black population in America was literate, a net gain of 65% in the fifty years since the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which supposedly freed the slaves..Currently, in somewhat modern times, our illiteracy rate within the Black community is over 44%..Are we reverting back to the days of slavery and reconstruction? We, as African Americans, it seems have but two choices in dealing with this illiteracy and other problems caused by the inability of America’s inner-city, urban and rural public schools to properly educate our children!! The first is to continue to do what we have been doing, which amounts to doing nothing, or organize within the Black inner-city and rural communities and protest nationally, march and inform our elected officials that we will no longer allow this plague which has infested our inner-city, urban as well as rural public school systems to go on destroying our children and robbing them of an Equal Quality Educational Opportunity!! Dr. King would be appalled by the current situation in the Black inner-city and rural communities..We must again Organize and protest in a concerted manner, we must begin the” Second Civil Rights Movement” to save our children and our communities..We must become reactive, not complacent toward our plight..If we do not act swiftly and concertedly, we will lose a generation of our youth!! Most importantly, we must continue to organize our inner-city and rural parents through organizations such as “Parent Revolution, United Parents For Education,” and other similar ‘Parent Rights’ organizations..We must continue through the combined efforts of these organizations and our local and state legislators to gain appropriate legislation to give parents a viable voice in the proper education of their children, such as the “Parent Trigger Law.” This law gives parents authority to force turnarounds at failing schools through a petition…This California law, passed in 2010, and was the first of its kind in the nation..It inspired Texas and Mississippi to adopt similar laws and legislation, and is under consideration in twenty other states..We can and shall overcome this horrendous debacle confronting the proper education of all of America’s children, whether they be Black, other children of color, or White.. Rise up again, protest and march unitedly within the framework of the”Second Civil Rights Movement for Equal Quality Educational Opportunity for all of America’s children.” We cannot deny this right to some of our children without disparaging all children and the nation (“The Unfinished Business of the Civil Rights Movement:Failure of America’s Public Schools to Properly Educate its African American Student Populations”)…

  • Sumner Benton

    Check out Black Boys of Distinction at BLACKBOYSOFDISTINCTION.ORG. We as an all African-American male staff are changing the world 100 Boys at a time.

  • Kenneth

    Malcolm X said: “only a fool will let his enemy teach his children”. We have outsourced our responsibility of educating our children in the name of integration. According to Lackawanda, in 1913, 70% was of the black population was literate. Now, only 44%. In 1913, we had no other choice but to teach our own and the result, 70% was literate. Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, Mary Mccleod Bethune were just a few of the giants that educated us. It’s time for a new direction with new leaders.

  • Christopher Simmons, Sr.

    The waste of African American male children is a sad and complicated tragedy that few people are concerned about. I for one am attempting to do something about it. I am trying to education young black men about the situation that are in and at the same time I am trying to provide guidance and assistance to their parents whom I consider to be the first line of defense in stopping this tragedy. If we can get more parents involved research has established the fact that education is the key to solving this problem. So, do us all a favor help a black male youngster today and for god sake talk to and assist their parents.

  • Steve

    “Too Important to Fail” or “Too proud to learn” or “Too scared to teach and apply the rules”? I grew up in Detroit and attended public schools. Without basic respect for teachers and the schools, many teachers live in fear of students and parents. When school administrators are focused on the report output over the quality of education received, teachers are constantly pressured to pass students. The single common cultural roadblock that I witnessed and experienced was one of the 7 deadly sins – PRIDE. Most of the black youth were so proud of themselves in the moment, they constantly lost sight of the opportunity to learn. They would rather not try or participate because they may look bad or under average for a few moments among their peers.

    This was common at very young ages and carried on thru to drop out or the undeserved graduation. Once someone fell behind in reading skills in early grades, they almost never caught up. I am sure many did not have much preschool reading or home encouragement either. Illiterate parents cannot read to the children at home. The individual has to get past their pride and try or no teacher or school in the world can make them learn. It was sad because many were bright kids, they just put up a wall. The lower bar became the standard for all and the wheels fell off from there on.

    I do not have an answer, but the individual has to participate. That is the $64K question. To quote Dr. Martin Luther King “science gives man knowledge which is power”. The media and current USA marketing influenced culture drowns our children with immediate gratification values. The care givers of our children have to shut off the TV and read a book to our children. The TV has become the new religion, it tells us or values and that is hard to compete with.

    “Too Important to Fail” is also too big to ignore. Thanks for keeping this topic and discussion alive. At the end of the day, the parents and the students must participate for any improvements to prevail.

  • slotap

    The only way to solve the problem is strong black families that make educating their children their number 1 priority. Black men must be real men stop looking and acting like boys and competing with them sagging braids rapping and be men/fathers. The black family insisting on their children being educated is the only way out of the cellar. Asian know how to do it and it shows. They are not crying about no programs and the need for Asian history as an excuse for failure. They study and put in the work to succeed.

  • John

    Great article with great feedback. I agree on some many levels with the fact of our children’s education is on a downward slope. Steve ^^ points out a great fact about how the parents need to be most involved with the education of their child. Misguided priorities and lack of positive influence in ones life is an ingredient for a troubled person, not to speak of a child. How does the effect of peer pressure measure in on the stats? Such a great article and great feedback.


    As a teacher, I’ve been taking notes on public school students for decades … throughout the public school system in Philadelphia.Often, what I’ve seen is like genocide on autopilot. nearly all chose to giggle rather than fight the impending future.

  • Whitley Williams

    If we would stop blaming others it would be a start. The parents are the child’s first teacher. If the parent is uneducated and has no concern for the education of their own children then how can teachers in inner city schools help that? These teachers are forced to put up with bad behavior with little recourse. The parents are the biggest obstacle to their own children. These kids go through hell at home and then are supposed to come to school to learn. Parents need to be held accountable because teachers are. Teachers are graded by the students that pass achievement tests and their evaluation is based on those scores. If a child doesn’t come to school they can’t learn. Let’s auit making excuses and hold everyone accountable. Excuses aren’t helping anymore.

  • Joe

    From my own personal experience, I was taught how to read at a very early age. My father, with his sixth grade education, understood the importance of reading comprehension. I remember at the age of six my father would read to me and then make me read what he read back to him. My father bought the Encyclopedia Britannica and made me read from volume A to Z. My father also made me take music lessons and go to church every Sunday. He also became very upset if I came home with less than a ‘B’ on my school report card. At the time I felt like I was being abused because many of my neighborhood buddies were playing the streets and I had to stay home and be a ‘square’. Now at the age of 48, I pray to the spirit of my father and thank him for taking time and dedication teach the importance of reading. My father, a truck driver with a sixth grade education, raised five children who all graduated from college.

    The challenge for many young urban African American males is that there is no support system to promote the value of achieving an education. If the parents/guardians cannot provide this support, there is little chance for success. The current public education system, at least in my city, currently does not have the capacity or will to provide for our young black males. It’s not about funding, it’s about the will to make a change in the current system to support the needs of young black males. And for some of them, not all, it had to come from us ‘old school’ black males.

  • Rodney Jordan

    As a young black male school teacher, this is a very heartbreaking reality for not only our young black males, but also our nation as a whole. I remember growing up in an urban area and being a part of the problem. However, I eventually turned my life around and became a part of the solution.

    The problem is not the achievement gap, however, it is the relationship gap, relevancy gap, and the racial gap. Many educators don’t take the time to get to know their students or try to understand them. They can’t relate therefore it’s hard for them to gain the respect necessary to do their jobs effectively. It would also help if students understand the importance of learning how to read proficiently, write properly and appropriately, and learn basic math facts. It helps to point out that without these basic skills, students will not obtain a driver’s license, be able to fill out a job application properly, or buy property.

    Our children are not failing, our education system and our educational leaders are failing our children.

  • Rodney Jordan

    Read the book, “Tired of Being Black.” You’ll gain a whole new perspective.

  • zarcon

    educators lie somethimes though And Are just being mean when they say this stuff i’m sure more than 13 percent Are reading better..

  • Fred Bar

    This will change when Government (Federal, State and Local) change from the Welfare State to the Education State. You see, change occurs when the Government stops entitlements that keep people at the bottom, without incentives to move out of their hole and encourage a way out of it by means of EDUCATION.

  • R Freeman

    I am a 60 yr old employed, veteran, African-American father of 4, married for 30+ years. My history would indicate a different “trajectory”. My parents are of mixed race (mom white and dad black). My mom had an 8th grade education. Dad was a laborer. Racial tensions of the ’50’s and ’60’s affected their marriage. Dad used alcohol and drugs to cope. He was promiscuous. He was also a victim of a violent childhood. I inherited this legacy. Even though I don’t drink now or use drugs, today I struggle with intimacy and other issues. The lack of a relationship with my father had a profound impact on who I am today and how I relate to my family. Especially my two sons and grandsons. I believe that a large part of my healing is in my ability to “give back” and share my story, thus giving others encouragement to begin their road to freedom. We save ourselves, our race one choice, one attitude, one family at a time.

  • Kw

    Reading this was a pretty sad situation. The fact that we are in the 2010s and that there is still education gaps is hard to believe. We may not be the same on the outside but we are all the same on the inside and with that said, we should be taught the same and treated the same. Color should not get in the way. #DoNowMLK

  • DW

    I’m a first year substitute teacher that is African-American. I wont say where. I need to have people help me understand what happened at a charter school, I was contracted to substitute at. (I’m no longer there,thank God) The staff allowed the 7th and 8th grade black and Latino students to walk the halls, by walking into other classes they don’t belong in causing disruption, cuss out teachers, and do everything but encourage them to LEARN.(White kids were treated by different standards) The mostly white staff said things about the black kids like “they are bigger than us!” I even had some white colleagues act rude toward me like not being polite enough to say “good morning” or “have a nice evening.” One white colleague forgot his notebook in my classroom, retrieved it without as much a “good night.”Walked out without so much a word to me as if I was not there. I had a black colleague who had troubled black students who the staff never tried to help her out as her black students got Fs. I substituted for her class, and had to put out some black students who were severely disruptive to the learning process for other black and white students. I was called by my supervisor and told “you will be assigned to another school, because the staff did not like you sending disruptive students out” So I felt like these black kids were encouraged not only to not learn, but to be enabled to not learn as white kids were told a different message. I felt like these black kids were not only being kept ignorant, but being socialized for prison. I’m new to all this so can someone help me to understand how in the hell is this possible?

  • big john

    parents need to be parents and not friends
    to their kids.

  • Jeffery Mcdonald

    I love this! This reminds me of the A Product of ME the documentary. A friend gave me a copy of this documentary and it has inspired me to do better with my life. I really hope it can make a change in others as well. http://www.aproductofmedoc.vhx.tv This is an awesome thing that you are doing for the urban communities.

  • Rhonda McLeod Chargois

    When are we going to stop blaming ourselves (individualistically, the parents and the victims themselves). The same mindset that created this racist society (of love the master and hate the slave) mentally still exists. This is not an individual fix but a paradigm shift to a new consciousness of awareness and deliberate, calculated change. I am a black criminal defense lawyer in Texas for 18 years. The system is doing what it was created to do — enslave a people. We must unify, educate and act uniformly to change.

  • momof5

    I know this is an old thread, but I just wanted to add my 2 cents, especially in view of what is happening in Ferguson of late. I am an African American mother of 4 kids who are being homeschooled and another who is entering his sophomore year at a local public high school with a 4.1 gpa (last year was his first time in school apart from home, and he took honors and AP level courses). My son goes to a school that is less than 2% black, yet he is doing very well there, keeping up nicely with his mostly white and Asian peers. Why? Because, like most Asian parents, I and my husband make sure that our son DOES HIS HOMEWORK EVERY NIGHT, and we make sure that it is checked for accuracy. We are both college educated, and so we are able to help him when he gets stuck. We do not allow any of our children to give up on or fall behind in their schoolwork, and we make it very clear to them that we expect them to go to college and that we think they are all “college material” and can succeed at anything they put their minds to. I really think that success in school is nearly impossible for any child of ANY race without such a home support base. The Asian and white children I know that have this support system at home tend to do very well in high school and go on to college. The white children I know who lack such a support system at home do not succeed in either high school nor do they go on to 4 year colleges. (I don’t personally know any Asian kids who lack such a support system at home.)

  • Kristin Tepas Baker

    I appreciate your years of service to our country and your honesty. Obviously I cannot imagine the hurdles you have had to overcome, starting at a very young age, when you were vulnerable and could have taken a much different path in life that might not have put you in a very happy, healthy place. I don’t pretend to know who to solve the problem, but I like what you said, about “one attitude, one family at a time”. I get very discourage seeing all of the riots in Ferguson. I don’t know all the facts in the case, but I know violence and looting solves nothing. Why not hold a candlelight vigil or do something to start a memorial fund for the victim?

  • Kristin Tepas Baker

    Indeed. These programs have been around for a very, very long time and the ONLY thing that they’ve shown, is that they simply do not work. More and more aide to low income families rarely ever gets them out of poverty, on the track to financial independence, etc.

  • Kristin Tepas Baker

    You couldn’t be more right. So much of a child’s life is what goes on at home. Parents need to enforce and reinforce rules, morals, ethics, the importance of being honest, kind, caring and respectful and that the key to success can be summed up in a single word, EDUCATION. They have to read to their kids, study with their kids and simply get involved! When I read : “Only 14% of African American eighth graders score at or above the proficient level. These results reveal that millions of young people cannot understand or evaluate text, provide relevant details, or support inferences about the written documents they read.” it’s very discouraging. It becomes a very vicious cycle.

  • Nicole Girard

    Probably because they are outraged and not calm enough to simply hold a candlelight vigil. smh

  • Nicole Girard

    The only welfare state we have in this country is that of corporate welfare. Clearly, the needs of the poor are not being met. Yes, we need to put more money towards education but not if it means not feeding these children as well.

  • Nicole Girard

    No. The programs that are funded do work. They do work very well towards helping disenfranchised people get ahead.

  • frank

    No looting and violence is not the answer and keep in mind the majority of the protesters were peaceful. To understand the rage and anger of the individuals you speak of, you have to travel to the deep pit where rest and see what dug that hole. Now unless you are ready to do that then it wont be possible to understand what you saw.

  • Ed

    If the white teachers discipline them, the parents & community activists accuse them of racism. Nobody wants the hassle, so they just let them do whatever they want.

  • Ed

    I would love to see a study on the importance of old encyclopedias. They figured prominently in my early learning as well.

  • Zamiel TheGardener Wilkinson

    You think holding a candle is going to raise awareness for cops killing blacks? :l Some white people are sooo soft.
    Do you think people all over the world would have heard about the kid being shot ect ect if people had raised fund for the victim?
    If one of my friends got shot because of his skin colour Manchester would be full of demonstrators that’s for sure.

  • Dwayne Matthews

    Ed Thank you for what you wrote! I’m DW. That was a good insight. The school I was contracted to substitute at by letting the kids act out out of fear of being accused of institutional racism ended up being racist anyway!

  • http://www.agp2013.com Leon Adams

    Excellent because it does start at home. You lay the foundation and then they take over as grow older. hopefully staying on the correct path.

  • Phyllis Egby

    As someone who has devoted her life to education, this is a problem we are not addressing head on. Schools are not providing Black children with an “inclusive” education. Our text books are missing the major scientific, and governmental contributions of Blacks even during the shortest month of the year. How many years can you read about Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, or Harriet Tubman? We do not discuss the societal problems that create lack of trust and value in established institutions such as education. Will the Missouri school district discuss the shooting in Ferguson, or simply ignore the anger that so many students bring into school? Why not use it as a teaching tool and discuss the tragedy to the family, police, and community by looking at all sides? But, the worst is that in many Black homes promoting athletics and or entertainment as a means for “success” is reinforced more than education. There is some degree of selffulling prophacy.

  • Fern Gray

    As a social worker… this post is AMAZING! It all starts at home- you are an awesome mom! I see the horrors of poverty/etc. everyday and it is horrible!

  • http://arthurthethirdcomingmiller.weebly.com Arthur Thethirdcoming Miller

    I would just like to say this. As a young African American male whose single mother of five did not graduate high school nor get her GED, my mother still manage to teach me about morals, standards and empowering myself. I am currently serving in the U.S. Army and attending Wright State and Sinclair Community College while working at one school and involving myself and several other organizations at school and outside of school. Although my mother did not have me all the time do to foster care and other situations I still manage to keep those beliefs she gave to me in the seven years she had me because they were not enforced solely by her but the environments I had to live in going through several care facilities and foster homes. Even when it came to living with foster parents that beat me and put me down I kept the one thing my mother gave to me in my head even till this day, “Do not ever let no one believe you are a fool and you better believe you are a very smart child.” Several factors at the age I was at could of changed my opinion about what she said to me but at the end of the day as long as I was able to see her or hear her voice I could imagine her till this day saying that because I still had an emotional connection with her and respect for her as a parent. For all you that believe having parents that are strict or pushing their children allows those kids to have a sense of morality then you are not letting them see the bigger picture because another thing my mother told me is that it is a dog eat dog world and a lot of brothers are getting ate up because we as young African American males do not only lack an education, but positive influences that are committed to teaching us how to be adults with moral values and a sense of honor. That is all I have to say for now.

  • ZhiirKane James

    As a African-American college student I am not sure if this is supposed to make me feel bad about myself or learn about facts. Which most of them are not showing examples of my statistics and accomplishments. Maybe individuals should focus on the good of others. Other than what they do wrong in societies eyes.

  • Cloud

    You are certainly correct that this would be a difficulty, but one does not need to speak the language well, be highly educated, or even be literate to provide the “home support base” that is being alluded to here. It is the recognition that education is paramount and instilling this value in the child that is key. You have the millions of immigrant parents who were undereducated, worked under harsh conditions for long hours, and yet had kids who ended up at the upper echelons of society as a testament to this. Many of these successful Asians for example had parents who were barely scraping by working in restaurants and laundromats, yet a majority of these parents strongly supported their kids academically and made sure they were doing to the best of their abilities in school.

  • lemar graham

    Ma’am, me and your son are too few in our African American community. I was raised to be shining examples like your son (I’m a sophomore too) and I had many White and Asian friends who viewed me as a fellow intellectual. Right now I’m taking college courses early in my high school before junior year to graduate early. We need more parents like you who can show how African American males are capable of high achievement.I hope to help change the African American community to have more children like your son, keep up the good work!

  • wmegenney

    Hit the nail on the head. The more parents are involved the better students do. end of story

Last modified: March 26, 2014 at 3:54 pm
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