The Vanishing Black Man

In The Black Man on July 7, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Today, Michael Jackson is finally laid to rest. Today, more details regarding Steve McNair’s homicide are coming to light. For me, the tragic losses of these two men serve as a microcosm of a growing epidemic in the African American community–the vanishing Black man. According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2005 African American men between the ages of 18 and 29 were three times as likely to be incarcerated than Hispanics, and seven times as likely to be incarcerated than whites.
African American men comprise some 14 percent of the age group; they were some 40 percent likely to be incarcerated.

In September 2008 the Wall Street Journal reported that homicides in African American teenagers increased by 39 percent since 2000 and 2001. There are numerous other indicators we could explore in addressing the vanishing Black Man, yet what is conclusive is that more and more young Black youths are growing up more impoverished than their parents or guardians. We are losing them to hopelessness, the streets, to prisons, to drugs, to HIV/AIDS; we are losing them too often and much too soon.

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