The Continuing Plight of America’s Black Male Youth – Redux

Sometimes when I speak about the particular plight of black male youth, I am accused of pressing the issue because I am a Black male. Although I am a Black male, my concern is much bigger than me personally. Make no mistake, however, I do take the matter personally and I do not apologize. With no intention of arrogant blasphemy, my view in this matter derives from this concept: “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Given the magnitude and duration of these crimes, there are no innocent bystanders, no witnesses free from guilt, because guilt is attributable if one perpetrates a crime, omits corrective actions, or tolerates the foregoing. Clear-cut information about America’s heinous crimes against human beings has been well known for centuries. Moreover, opinion leaders at various times focus massive attention on some “in-vogue” transgression, such as educational gaps between the haves and have-nots. The way these issues are covered, treating them as brand new startling revelations, with widespread releases, gives the impression that corrective actions will ensue.

But as Menken told us: The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of truth – that the error and the truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it is cured on one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one. Einstein adds: It is provided in the essence of things that with every achievement of success comes a new problem that makes a greater effort necessary.

If one intends to fight effectively and gain ground permanently against the current vestiges of slavery and racism, one must understand the infinite number and variety of instruments that have become seemingly inextricably imbedded in all of America’s institutions, on both sides of the proverbial tracks, that now prevent change in the average status of the descendants of slaves. It is unfortunate in the extreme that some of the obstructive measures are perpetrated by members of the very groups that are suffering. In fact, many of America’s institutional impediments would be rendered much less effective devoid of members’ participation. One of the most difficult concepts to drive home among abused peoples is that in America, Systemic Racism can only work if the people closest to the children fail to maximize their efficacy in helping children take advantage of whatever assets as may be available, e.g., education.

America’s communication outlets, as a whole, emphasize two ends of the success-spectrum as pertains to African Americans: the very top and the very bottom — those who are quite financially successful and those who are in the proverbial “failure” pit, where Black boys are disproportionately represented. There are many ways to get into that latter group, and their numbers are increasing considerably faster than former. The most celebrated Blacks, the very wealthy, are dominated by the athletic, music and theater industries where access is exceedingly restricted. What is ignored, however, is the huge number of Black people who are doing very well in this country. This morass of lies, erroneous explanations, confusion, chaos, and debilitating entanglements prompted me to begin doing work on the “WELLNESS vs. SICKNESS” approach. (Roanoke Tribune, June 16, 2016)

In addition to African Americans, several sub-groupings in America whose members share certain delineable characteristics can also be disaggregated from their larger populations by statistics that show disparities that are worse than the group averages. One obstructionist strategy that has worked against improvement for entire subjugated groups is the looping of all disadvantaged peoples into one undifferentiated mass, e.g., People of Color,” as if one solution raises success levels for all.

The various ethnic minority groups in this country have had different experiences with the power-wielders in the American mainstream, especially governmental and educational policy-makers. The specific historical circumstances of the various ethnic groups must be considered when plans are drawn up to improve educational and social outcomes, especially if the desired outcomes for all students, for example, are the same — intellectual and behavioral competence. Disregarding the conditions created by the specific involvements of each ethnic