Monday, March 20, 2006

Grim

New York Times tells of a raft of new studies showing that things are even worse for inner-city black men than has been widely portrayed.

Many of the new studies go beyond the traditional approaches to looking at the plight of black men, especially when it comes to determining the scope of joblessness. For example, official unemployment rates can be misleading because they do not include those not seeking work or incarcerated.

"If you look at the numbers, the 1990's was a bad decade for young black men, even though it had the best labor market in 30 years," said Harry J. Holzer, an economist at Georgetown University and co-author, with Peter Edelman and Paul Offner, of "Reconnecting Disadvantaged Young Men" (Urban Institute Press, 2006).

In response to the worsening situation for young black men, a growing number of programs are placing as much importance on teaching life skills — like parenting, conflict resolution and character building — as they are on teaching job skills.

SNIP

Terrible schools, absent parents, racism, the decline in blue collar jobs and a subculture that glorifies swagger over work have all been cited as causes of the deepening ruin of black youths. Scholars — and the young men themselves — agree that all of these issues must be addressed.

Joseph T. Jones, director of the fatherhood and work skills center here, puts the breakdown of families at the core.

"Many of these men grew up fatherless, and they never had good role models," said Mr. Jones, who overcame addiction and prison time. "No one around them knows how to navigate the mainstream society."


I'm with Jones. When whole neighborhoods of black men essentially abondon their children, those kids -- especially the males -- grow up with no sense of personally or communal responsibility. Key to solving this will be getting into the collective psyche of the subculture, understanding the benefits and gratifications that motivate this kind of behavior, and understanding why those benefits either don't exist or are not motivational for whites and Hispanics of similar economic stations.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< MORE