Friday, April 07, 2006

 

Race, Gender, Education, Economics
Can't We Just Get Along?

Watching and considering the Cynthia McKinney/Capitol Police fiasco again brought forth thoughts of the state of black/white race relations in our country. There is no doubt that bigotry and racism still exists. MSNBC ran an article today on a report on the plight of young black men in America today.
At a time when the U.S. economy is on the upswing and more people are finding work, young African American men are falling further behind.

That's the grim portrait painted by three new and forthcoming books by scholars at Columbia, Georgetown and Princeton universities. The picture isn't new, but the depths of its despair and pathology are.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there are about 5 million black men in America between the ages of 20 and 39. The new books, and an earlier one from Harvard, find them losing ground in mainstream American society, despite advances made by black women, presumably part of the same socioeconomic experience.

This vexing problem, caused by a variety of social ills, is equally vexing when scholars consider what causes it.
Not a pretty picture. More:
  • Rates of imprisonment for young black men escalated throughout the 1990s and continued climbing well into the current decade. About 16 percent of black men in their twenties who were not college students were either in jail or in prison.
  • African Americans are seven times more likely to go to prison or jail than whites.
  • Almost 60 percent of black male high school dropouts in their early thirties have spent time in prison.
  • The percentage of young jobless black men continues to increase, part of a trend that generally hasn't abated in decades. In 2000, about 65 percent of black male high-school dropouts had no jobs, either because they couldn't find work or because they were in jail. By 2004, the studies found that number had grown to 72 percent. The numbers for young black men were higher than for whites and Hispanics similarly affected.
In many ways these are the people who could use the jobs that illegal immigrants are taking. Liberals are burning the candle at both ends. They "care" about the young black men but allow jobs they need to be taken by illegal immigrants whom they also support. Who should matter most our legal citizens or illegal immigrants?

Obviously, part of the solution to the problem is not to be a high school dropout. But the percentage of black males age 20-34 with high school degrees or better, 87.1% is better than white males 20-34, 84.4%. Providing that I ran the numbers from these tables released by the U.S. Census Bureau in March, 2005 correctly.

Notably, black females, who the article identifies as doing better than black males, have a lower percentage with a high school degree or better, 86.2%. White females with a high school degree of better have the highest percentage, 89.4%. Judging from these figures, many questions arise. One is that, is the problem facing young black males more than just racism? I would have to think "yes." One of these problems may be gender. Otherwise, how could a group of the same race with less education on the average, black females, be doing better economically?

Another tidbit I gleaned from this table was the percentage of high school graduates for those 50-65 years old: Blacks have made significant gain between generations and whites are slipping.

Looking at those 20-34 years old who have a Bachelor's degree or better the pattern changes. Black males come in last with 12.3%, followed by black females with 16.4%. White females come out on top with 26.8% followed by white males with 21.4%. These figures are in keeping with the trend towards fewer males attending college. Young black men still lag behind in college education. One wonders why the

It appears the black male faces a double challenge, the residual racism still present in our society and gender prejudice. An apparently black male anonymous commenter (anonymous 11:56 am) at DrHelen gives some insight into the college experience for a black male as well as his opinion of the impact of feminism on black males. This commenter seems to have some thoughts and insights similar to Shelby Steele's.

The problems facing young black males go far beyond simple racism. Yes, there continues to be racism but how great is the impact in an individual black male? Hard to ascertain but surely much less than 50 or more years ago. It would seem reasonable to investigate the impact of anti-male bias.

Current day liberalism impedes black progress in that it continually suggests that blacks face overwhelming obstacles due to racism and can't succeed without their (the liberals) help. Thereby attempting to create a dependency relationship. This also encourages racial hostility. How else would you react towards your perceived "oppressors?"

In his autobiography Malcom X explained to a "token integrated" Ph.D. black associate professor that a Southern white racist would refer to him as "Nigger." But what terminology does a black person use to refer to a perceived white racist who may actually be an "enlightened liberal?" Maybe this is a case. I'm sure it's not flattering. Whether it's Cynthia McKinney, Ray Nagin, white supremists, or whomever global accusations of racism, etc. are unprovable, indefensible and unconstructive.

When I hear the global accusations of racism such as Prof. Houston Baker's in response to the Duke Lacrosse team rape allegations I become a little less sympathetic to the cause.
I`ve taught in many places. In tier-one, traditionally all-white universities across this country, administrators know that a culture of violence, a culture of rape, a culture of gay-bashing, a culture of racism and misogyny exist. Duke is no different in that respect.
The rape allegations turn into an indictment of virtually every university in the country. Cynthia McKinney's accusations, accusations by many concerning Katrina relief, ad infinitum, have hardened the average white guy's heart to such accusations. While we abhor racism, we firmly believe such accusations to not be true. The "white guilt" trip in running on empty.

Most people in this country, like myself, are simply trying to make ends meet, provide for their kids, enjoy life a little and, perhaps, do something meaningful. Lets fight racism, gender bias, other evils where we encounter it but lets quite creating windmills. "Just getting along" shouldn't be all that hard.

Comments:
for a lot of people, they use a victim mentality, they deserve more due to the fact .. but this puts pressure on people who do just want to go along with thier lives.. if you spend so much time telling people they are special, they need preferential treatment, they will beleive it, and so affect all the population, being called a racist, is in a lot of cases a get out of free card.

as can be seen in this UK article, its too long to post here, but well worth a read.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,176-2124987_2,00.html

We’d often get a fresh-faced, idealistic teacher who had no doubt read Marx and Malcolm X and done an elective in post-colonial theory at polytechnic. We ate those suckers alive.

Desperate to empathise with our persecution, they were knocked dead by our indifference and rampant misbehaviour. At the first sniff of guilt-ridden middle-class weakness, the feral instincts of teenage boys were unleashed and the class descended into anarchy. They thought we’d been crazed by oppression, so didn’t want to come down too hard on us. They wanted to understand instead. When it did get too much for them and they threatened to march one of us to the headmaster’s office, our immediate protest would be: “You’re a racist"

They’d cower behind their desks, mortified that we’d recognised some deeply suppressed prejudice within them, while we got back to hurling insults, beating the crap out of each other and rolling joints to smoke at lunchtime
 
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