Monday, March 20, 2006

Black Males in Trouble? . . . .

The March 20, 2006 article in The New York Times "Plight Deepens for Black Men, Studies Warn" is a good and bad thing. It's good because it statistically demonstrates the problems of black males in today's society on many fronts: education, employment, income, etc.

But, what's worse is the bad thing. With the NYT being an internationally read paper, it likely does more harm than good, as it may serve as a vehicle for continued discrimination, stereotypes, and stigma for our black male population in the United States.

I believe in the power of mass media, but, I guess, sometimes, I would prefer problems like these to remain "in house" and invite the media in when progress is being made, and the article can carry a serious, but more upbeat tone.

If problems begin at home, they should begin to be fixed at home -- not at major white institutions of higher education, that often times choose to increase the disconnect between their institutions and the community. These problems for the black male have been documented by non-major universities for decades, so it is nothing new (until major white university professors--yes, even people of color at such institutions like myself) begin to study the issue.

It's called applied academics. I'm excited to hear of the work being done. But, it's not new, and the article's title and content could have been more positive--yes, even given the bismal numbers.

We should be in the business of encouragement - - not discouragement.