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Together, we can save the next generation

July 29, 2007 by  
Filed under News, Weekly Columns

( Black men are in big trouble. And if black men are in trouble, the black family and the whole black community are also in trouble.

America has already lost one whole generation of black boys to poor education, chronic unemployment and underemployment, hyper-incarceration, and senseless violence.
Many black men seem to be in a self- destruct mode.

Bad numbers

Consider these numbers:

    • In Indianapolis, the Schott Foundation for Public Education reports that only 21 percent of black males graduate from high school.
    • In Indiana, the Joint Economic Committee reports that 42 percent of black men are not working.
    • Nationally, of the few black men who graduate from high school and enter college, only 22 percent graduate from college after six years.
    • More than 1 million black men are in jails and prisons in America.
    A dismal future

The statistics point to a future disaster in the black community.

Can the black community be viable if the black man is not viable? Absolutely not. Without strong, vibrant black males as anchors to our families, there cannot be strong black communities.

Each day we ignore what’s happening, sending more of these men into crime, drugs, gangs, violence, jails, prisons and even death. Each day, the black community grows weaker. A large part of the solution is a return to the basics of family living with parents, families and communities taking the primary responsibility for educating black male children.

The successful education process starts in the home, the family and the community, and it continues in school and throughout life. The U.S. has become less tolerant of young black men who are non-productive, or counter-productive, to the goals of mainstream society.

What is the dilemma? What will America do with 18 million black men, many of whom have not finished high school? The value and power of education must be reinforced constantly for these young men and the essentialness and necessity of family cannot be overstressed. No more speeches, no more protest, no more meetings. It’s time for direct action.

Though we have lost a generation of black boys, we certainly don’t have to lose two.

By Phillip Jackson

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