A History of Divestment in Black Men

27 Oct

The great folks at Colorlines are currently running an extensive, brilliant and insightful series on Black Men: Life Cycles of Inequity. Today’s re-post features a video on the history of divestment in Black men, and an article that explains how black men have been cut out of economic opportunity initiatives for more than a century. They were first published at Colorlines on October 22nd 2014 by Imara Jones.

6 Ways the White House Can Help Truly Keep Our Brothers

After nearly six years of de facto silence on race, the White House this year swung into the harsh world that men of color inhabit with the unveiling of its “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative.

When compared to their white peers, black men are nearly half as likely to graduate from high school; earn $6 an hour less in the labor market; are three times as likely to live in poverty and 10 times as likely to have been a victim of homicide—not to mention off-the-charts incarceration rates. This depressing data has been well documented for over a generation and is not in dispute. To describe the totality of what’s going on, Marian Wright-Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund drops the world “school” and simply dubs it “the cradle-to-prison pipeline.”

As the president launched “My Brother’s Keeper” in February, he lamented that the country had become “numb to these statistics” and that all too many Americans “take them as the norm.” He described the White House initiative as having potential to give young men of color “a boundless sense of possibility.”

Though the initiative has since drawn noticeable criticism—for, among other things, its paltry pledge of $200 million in mostly private resources and overlooking black women—the unveiling nonetheless raised hopes that the country was arriving at a turning point. Veteran Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson called it “the kind of targeted public-private initiative that might actually do some good, even without tons of new federal money thrown in.”

Those hopes were strained severely in May, when the White House published My Brother’s Keepers’ six policy recommendations.

[To read the full article, please continue reading at Colorlines.com]

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