HOODWINKED

BY: - 9 Jun '11 | Home

Share this article!

default_thumb

By Janks Morton

One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him. ““ Booker T. Washington

For over 400 years, the majority white society has used many tools to reinforce a message that the peoples of African descent are less-than, not-equal-too or not-good enough. In this modern era of information, the media, government and special interests use statistics to further promote the message of Black inferiority. What troubles me most, is that we as a people have internalized the misinformation, embraced the myths, and perpetuated the stereotypes, sadly reinforcing a collective misperception of our own identities.

Travel to any Black-owned barbershop or beauty salon on a Saturday afternoon, and you will hear some of the most outlandish, unsubstantiated and unverifiable (statistical) claims about the state of today’s African-American male. I sit in barber chairs across this country and hear “You know half of em’ been locked up, most of em’ dropped out of high school, and all of em’ are marrying white women.” I sit mostly in silence, because the truth about the great economic and educational strides of today’s black male usually starts an emotional and fiery debate. And mostly, the barbershop is a place where truth, statistics and evidence gets trumped by whoever shouts the loudest.

If I can give Black America one teachable lesson, it would be this:  ”Never trust a man (or woman) who quotes a statistic that ends in either a five or a zero.” “25% of this, 50% of that, 75% of these” are usually opinion or conjecture, and seldom if ever valid. Fives and zeros are the numbers of men and are usually flawed (look at your fingers).

This “fives-and-zeros” rule is what led me to my initial research into carving out positive statistics about African-Americans in 2005. In a debate with Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, former NPR correspondent Juan Williams blurted out a statistic that 70% of African-American children were being born out-of-wedlock. Of course I cried foul, and headed to Census.gov to fact-check Mr. William’s claim.   That initial research is what has motivated me to look for positive data about Blacks, and attempt to offset the constant negative messaging etched into our minds. Be it graduation rates, enrollment rates, income or social data, I believe that in our hearts, we all need to hear more “good news” about Blacks in this country.

My research gave me insights as to how 21st century “information overload” can lead to all types of statistical confusion. Too often in our discourse we combine the economic, the educational, employment and social statistics to form a distorted perception of the modern-era African-American experience. Couple that with the constant bombardment by news outlets and entertainment media of the less-than-desirable Black behaviors; consequently you have a people who are ill equipped to stand confident in their own achievements.

Here’s a quick test of how we perceive ourselves: Excluding  athletics, entertainment or religion, name a positive stereotype about African Americans. I’ll wait”...

Most African-Americans have a challenging, if not impossible, time summarizing our collective experience into one positive statement of group-worth. Sadly if I were to ask you the same question about other racial groups, you would rattle off quickly “smart,” “hard-working,” “and “good with money.” This is a testament to how we have allowed Black identity to be twisted and maligned, while also adopting this societal defamation of character as our own belief set.

So with that, I believe that it is absolutely necessary for another message to be forwarded about what is means to be Black in America. WE can no longer depend on any organization, any government or any media outlet to shine the positive light of who WE are. WE can no longer afford to define ourselves by our shortcomings. WE have got to shout confidently, that WE are much more than the incarcerated, the uneducated, or the prime time buffoon.

My final challenge to you, as a Black American, would be this. If XYZ actor gets caught cheating on their spouse, you head right to the local internet search engine to fact-check the story. The Internet has become the great equalizer in this struggle, and your government has made most data freely accessible. The next time you hear any data or statistics about Blacks, anywhere, be just as diligent in your search to confirm or dismiss the story. Because, as I see it, the ratings, the notoriety, and the funding will always promote the negative statistics about Black Americans.

In closing, here are some verified African American male statistics on education, economics and employment. Statistics you probably have never heard. Statistics I would challenge you to try discussing on your next visit to the local stylist, academic setting, or community activist meeting. What will sadden you most is to watch the debate, watch the resistance, and watch the denial from people who desire most to hold on to false claims about us”... myths, stereotypes and misinformation that only perpetuates the denigration of us all.

·             There are more Black Males in College[1] than in Jails, Prisons, Private Corrections, Military Jails and Institutions for the Criminally Insane combined[2] (1,236,443 in College/841,000 Incarcerates ““ regardless of age)

·             4 to 1: The ratio of 18-24 year old Black Males in College[3] vs. Jails, Prisons, Private Corrections, Military Jails and Institutions for the Criminally Insane[4]. (674,000 in College/164,400 Incarcerates)

  • 32.3% (1 in 3) Black Males ages 18-24 are enrolled in College[5] (674,000 in College/2,082,000 Total)

  • 1.37 to 1: The ratio of 18-24 year old Black Females enrolled in College to Black Males[6]. (930,000 Black Females Enrolled/674,000 Black Males Enrolled)

  • 6.3%: Black Males (age 18-55+) enroll in College at a higher rate by sex than White Males and Hispanic Males and are surpassed only by Asian Males[7]. (Black Males is 6.3%, White Males is 5.8%, Hispanic Males is 4.7%, and Asian Males is 9.7%)

  • 25.1% of Black Males (age 25 or over) have either an Associates, Bachelors, Masters, Professional, or Doctoral Degree[8]. (2,519,000 with Degrees/10,018,000 Total)

  • 82.1% of Black Males (age 18 or over) have at least a High School Diploma or GED[9] . (9,897,000 with HS Diploma or GED/12,044,000 Total)

  • 12.1%: The Black Male Dropout Rate[10] (ages 16-24) for 2008. (301,000 Dropouts/2,583,000 Total)[11]

  • 5.1%: Percent of married Black Men who marry White Women[12] (279,000 Black Husband-White Wife/5,654,000 Married Black Men)

  • 88.8%: Percent of Black Males earning income[13] ages 25-64 (employment) (7,899,000 Employed/8,893,000 Total)

  • $23,738: Average Income for Black Males[14] 15 and older ($19,470 Average Income Black Females)

  • 1,812,000 The number of Black Men making $50,000/year or more[15]

  • 71.6% of Black Men pay their agreed to or Court Awarded Child Support[16] (855,000 Payers/1,194,000 Recipients)

  • $253 Billion: Total Income earned by Black Males[17] (15 and over) ($262 Billion earned by Black Females)

  • 13,104,000 Total Black Men age 15 or over[18] (15,816,000 Total Black Females age 15 or over)


[1] National Center for Education Statistics: iPeds data set, March 2011 ““ reporting Scholastic Year 2009

[2] Bureau of Justice Statistics: Prison and Inmates at Midyear 2009 ““ June 2010)

[3] US Census Bureau: American Community Survey: Table 1.   Enrollment Status of the Population 3 Years Old and Over, by Sex, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, Foreign Born, and Foreign-Born Parentage:   October 2009

[4] Bureau of Justice Statistics: Prison and Inmates at Midyear 2009 ““ June 2010

[5] US Census Bureau: American Community Survey: Table 1.   Enrollment Status of the Population 3 Years Old and Over, by Sex, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, Foreign Born, and Foreign-Born Parentage:   October 2009

[6] US Census Bureau: American Community Survey: Table 1.   Enrollment Status of the Population 3 Years Old and Over, by Sex, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, Foreign Born, and Foreign-Born Parentage:   October 2009

[7] US Census Bureau: American Community Survey: Table 1.   Enrollment Status of the Population 3 Years Old and Over, by Sex, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, Foreign Born, and Foreign-Born Parentage:   October 2009

[8] U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2009 Annual Social and Economic Supplement

[9] U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2009 Annual Social and Economic Supplement

[10] National Center for Education Statistics: Table A-19-2.   Number of status dropouts and status dropout rates of 16-through 24-year-olds ““ American Community Survey (ACS) 2008)

[11] 2,583,000 includes individuals reporting Black A.O.I.C. US Census data are individuals reporting Black Alone

[12] U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Social and Economic Supplement: 2003 Current Population Survey, Current Population Reports, Series P20-553, “America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2003? and earlier reports.

[13] U.S. Census Bureau, PINC-01. Selected Characteristics of People 15 Years Old and Over by Total Money Income in 2009, Work Experience in 2009, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex

[14] U.S. Census Bureau, PINC-01. Selected Characteristics of People 15 Years Old and Over by Total Money Income in 2009, Work Experience in 2009, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex

[15] U.S. Census Bureau, PINC-05. Work Experience in 2009″“People 15 Years Old and Over by Total Money Earnings in 2009, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex

[16] U.S. Census Bureau, Child Support Payments Agreed to or Awarded Custodial Parents by Selected Characteristics and Sex: 2007

[17] U.S. Census Bureau, PINC-08. Source of Income in 2009-People 15 Years Old and Over, By Income of Specified Type in 2009, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex

[18] U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2009.

About the author

BMWK Staff

http://www.blackandmarriedwithkids.com

Content and articles from the staff and guest contributors of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com

Store

like what you're reading?

Start Shopping!

Discussion

Facebook Wordpress

10 WordPress comments on “HOODWINKED

  1. Josephgrant39

    THATS Y ITS IMPORTANT THAT THE BLACKMAN STAY IN SCHOOL AND GET ALL HE CAN GET AND BE ALL HE CAN BE TO PUT STUFF LIKE THIS TO PASS RISE ABOVE THE NORM

    Reply
  2. Pat

    Janks, Thank you for the excellent work you did in researching.   This definitely needs to be done more often and shared.   What other articles have you written?   Have you written any books?  

    Patrica Johnson

    Reply
  3. Clemson99

    About time someone challenged the notion of group think. I hope everyone who reads this article takes the time to read up up on any stats or “barbershop fact” posted especially as election time comes up and have the guts to stand in the face of the storm of mis-information no matter who/what sides posted it.  

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Black Women: Forget What You’ve Heard About Black Men — Makasha Dorsey

  5. Guest

    Thank you so much for shedding light on this topic.   I admit that I’ve fallen into the trap of overgeneralizing us too by shady statistics that we hear in the media. Glad you did some research!

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Black American Men and Feminism - Christian Forums

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>