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Study: Young Males of Color Likely to End up Jobless, Imprisoned or Dead

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By George E. Curry, TheDefendersOnline.com –

Fifty-one percent of Hispanic male high school graduates ages 15-24 and 45 percent of African-American males in that category will end up unemployed, incarcerated or dead, according to a study issued this week by the College Board’s Advocacy & Policy Center.

“Collectively, the pathway data show that more than 51 percent of Hispanic males, 45 percent of African American males, 42 percent of Native American males and 33 percent of Asian American males ages 15-24 will end up unemployed, incarcerated or dead,” concluded a report titled, “The Educational Experience of Young Men of Color: A Review of Research, Pathways and Progress.”

A companion report, “The Education Experience of Young Men of Color: Capturing the Student Voice,” was also released. Both reports were released at a news conference at Harvard on Monday and in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

The College Board report on educational experience observed, “…Men, especially minority men, lag behind their female counterparts in college access, educational attainment and employment. Minority men outpace their female counterparts only in negative post-secondary outcomes: unemployment, incarceration and death.”

In order to accomplish President Obama’s goal of the United States retaking its position as the world’s best educated nation, improvements must be made in the rate men of color enroll in and graduate from college, the report stated.

“The report seeks to identify not only what we know but also what we don’t know about men of color,” authors of the study said…It is our hope that this report will be the impetus for scholars to investigate more rigorously the issues affecting the academic performance of young men of color. We are particularly interested in research that identifies solutions to the problems, not that which identifies the problems all over again.”

A different approach would be to study successful men of color to determine what elements went into their success.

How well the problems of men of color are addressed will largely determine whether the United States will have a workforce educated enough to support knowledge-based jobs, which will directly impact the global competitiveness of the nation.

Although high school dropout rates among most racial and ethnic groups have declined over the past three decades, minority dropout rates remain disproportionately high, especially among males, the report noted.

The dropout rate for White males in 2008 was 7 percent. But the figure was 22 percent for Hispanic males, 17 percent for American Indian/Alaska Natives, 12 percent for African-Americans, 8 percent for Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders and 4 percent for Asians.

Dropout rates vary significantly within the ethnic group. Among Hispanics, for example, the high school dropout rate was 25.8 percent for Salvadorans but only 6 percent for Cuban males. The dropout rate was 22.2 percent for Mexicans but only 8 percent for South Americans.

Troubling statistics were also evident at the college level

As of 2008, only 30.3 percent of African-Americans ages 25 to 34 and 19.8 percent of Latinos in that age bracket had attained an associate degree or higher. By comparison, 49 percent of Whites and 70.7 percent of Asian Americans had earned at least a degree from a two-year college. In every group, women had higher graduation rates than their male counterparts.

College enrollment figures show that 25.8 percent of African-American males 18-24 were in college in 1990, slightly higher than the 24.7 percent rate for Black women. By 2008, however, not only had Black women overtaken Black men, they had done so by a comfortable margin. In 2008, 29.7 percent of Black men ages 18-24 were enrolled in college. But the figure for African-American females in that age bracket had risen to 34.2 percent.

Among Hispanic males, the college attendance rate increased from 15.4 percent in 1990 to 23 percent in 2008. But the rate for Hispanic women jumped from 16.4 percent in 1990 to 28.9 percent in 2008. The Asian American/Pacific Islander male graduation rate was the only one to decrease over that period, from 59.2 percent to 53.8 percent while Asian women rose from 54.9 percent to 61.1 percent.

Native American/Alaska Native male college rates doubled, from 8.4 percent to 18.7 percent over that period. Women, who held a 12-point lead over their male counterparts in 1990, saw the gap narrowed, holding only a 24.3 percent to 18.7 percent lead by 2008.

In 2008, White males had a college enrollment figure of 35.6 percent, compared with 34.7 percent for women. But White women had surpassed their male counterpart by 2008, upping their college attendance rate to 46.9 percent, compared to 41.7 percent for men.

The report suggest a goal of ensuring that 55 percent of young Americans hold an associate degree and higher. However, that can’t be done without closing the college completion gaps that separate Whites and Asians from other groups.

The report’s figures on unemployment, incarceration and death were particularly gripping.

In 2008, more than 9.4 million 15-24-year-old high school graduates, including 5 million men (53.1 percent) and 4.4 million women (46.9 percent) were unemployed, the report said. Among males 15- to 24-years-old with a high school diploma, 46 percent of Hispanics were unemployed, 39.2 percent of Native Americans, 34.4 percent of African-Americans and 29.8 percent of Asians. Post-recession numbers are expected to be even higher.

While Hispanics and Native Americans had higher unemployment rates than Blacks, that pattern did not hold true for incarceration. More than 475,000 people aged 18 to 24 were incarcerated in 2008, with males making up 92.4 percent of that group.

Among minority males 15 to 24 with a high school diploma, 9.9 percent of African-Americans were behind bars, 5.2 percent of Hispanic men in that age group, 3.4 percent of Asians and 2.7 percent of Native Americans.

“An early death – natural or violent – is a real possibility for today’s youth,” the report stated. Among 18 to 24-year-olds, it noted, 34,887 died in 2008. Of those, 26,070 (74.7 percent) were males; 8,817 (25.3 percent) were females.

Of those who died in 2008, males made up 77.5 percent of African-Americans, 71.5 percent of Asians, 79.4 percent of Hispanics, 71 percent of Native Americans and 72.6 percent of Whites. Overall, African-Americans and Native Americans were tied at 0.3 percent of the deaths in that age group, followed by Hispanics, at 0.2 percent, and Asians, at 0.1 percent.

The authors of the report said that while there should be a concentrated effort to improve the plight of men of color, women of color also need and deserve support.

Among the report’s recommendations:

1) Policymakers must make improving outcomes for young men of color a national priority;

2) Increase community, business and school partnerships to provide mentoring and support to young men of color;

3) Reform education to ensure that all students, including young men of color, are college and career ready when they graduate from high school;

4) Improve teacher education programs and provide professional development that includes cultural- and gender-responsive training;

5) Create culturally appropriate persistence and retention programs that provide wraparound services to increase college completion for men of color and

6) Produce more research and conduct more studies that strengthen the understanding of challenges faced by males of color and provide evidence-based solutions to these challenges.

The researchers said they reached an unmistakable conclusion: “There is an educational crisis for young men or color in the United States.”

Racial Slurs Become Part of St. Bernard Parish Housing Fight

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By Zoe Sullivan, Special to the NNPA from The Louisiana Weekly –

There has been clear opposition for years to the presence of African Americans in St. Bernard Parish, based on the litigation history of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC), James Perry, executive director of that organization, told The Louisiana Weekly.

“We get really nasty phone calls and e-mails pretty frequently about St. Bernard Parish, and they oftentimes have a lot of racial innuendo, but occasionally they have really direct racial statements and racial epithets,” Perry told The Louisiana Weekly.

Recently, his organization used two examples of this in litigation against St. Bernard Parish around a multi-family housing project being developed there by Provident Realty Advisors, Inc.

Provident is building four mixed-income apartment complexes, which would be within walking distance of a planned hospital. According to GNOFHAC, each complex would contain 72 units for a total of 288. Perry says the State of Louisiana is supporting the development with $30 million in tax credits, which are only awarded following stringent investigations by the State. Provident initially asked GNOFHAC for assistance in 2008.

Recently, Judge Ginger Berrigan, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, denied a request by the Parish for a cease and desist order against Provident Realty.

The ruling stated: “While Defendants have raised concerns about the work Provident has performed without inspections, none of these concerns justify a complete shutdown of the projects. From the testimony presented in court, Provident appears willing and able to address all of Defendants’ concerns.”

The concerns ranged from drain lines from the development buildings to existing storm drains, the height of proposed driveways, and the use of third party inspectors.

The court ruling also noted that: “…the Court finds that there is no legal support for President Taffaro’s position that Provident must tear down all of its buildings before the Parish would issue any permits.”

“It’s always been clear that racial animus is key to the resistance to this housing development. There’s no mistake,” Perry told The Louisiana Weekly.

“We have been and continue to be offended by the incident that is in question,” St. Bernard Parish President Craig P. Taffaro, Jr. said to The Louisiana Weekly’s inquiry about the racially tinged graffiti and voicemail presented in court.

“We find it equally troublesome that the Provident officials sought no legal intervention. No police report was filed by Provident. We are really proud that our post-Katrina population statistics continue to show that St. Bernard is more diverse than ever before in our history, and we continue to promote a unified community in our recovery.”

The Insistent Question: Where Are The Jobs?

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By Lee A. Daniels, Special to the NNPA from thedefendersonline.com –

The gloomy federal jobs report for May has brought to the forefront again all the questions – and fears – about the economy and the jobs crisis that six months ago were pushed into the deep background by the compromise on unemployment benefits between President Obama and the Republicans in Congress.

The legislation ensured that for all of this year all jobless workers who reach the normal six-month cutoff point for unemployment benefits – estimated at about four million – would automatically have their payments renewed. The measure also included another two million whose benefits were lapsing during last December as well.

In exchange, the President agreed to extend for another two years the Bush-era provisions governing estate taxes and tax cuts for the highest-income earners.

The administration was clearly hoping that during this year, the economic recovery would have gathered enough steam to forge the kind of job growth that would jump-start a sustained paring of the jobless rolls.

That hasn’t happened. Instead, the slowing of the momentum of economic recovery has produced a keenly-felt disconnect between the fact that the Great Recession officially ended nearly two years ago and the fact of the hardship many Americans are still enduring.

The official unemployment rate for May inched up to 9.1 percent and a just-barely-positive 54,000 new jobs were tallied. That underscored the fact that the labor market still has seven million fewer jobs than at the start of the crisis in December 2007—and that some 14 million Americans remain out of work. Which, in turn, raised the point that many labor-market analysts expect it will take years of sustained significant job growth to push the unemployment rate down to its pre-recession level between five and six percent.

The recovery’s tepid pace has also emphasized the many worrisome questions about the recession’s long-term effects. Millions of younger workers among the jobless face a future in which their lifetime earnings are likely to be permanently diminished by this period of sustained joblessness. And, many jobless workers who are 55 and older are likely – if they can find work again – to never again approach the status or wages of their previous jobs. In addition, the number of long-term unemployed workers – those jobless for six months or more – after declining somewhat late last year is on the rise again. The 6.2 million workers in this category now comprise 45.1 percent of the total jobless, from 43.4 percent in April.

Numerous analysts have expressed concern that many of the long-term unemployed will never again find consistent employment.

If not mitigated, these possibilities will in the years ahead diminish the amount of payments into the funds for Social Security and Medicare, just as the largest waves of Baby Boomers are likely to be drawing heavily on those two federal programs.

Further, the May jobs report, in which Black unemployment ticked upward from April’s 16.1 to 16.2 percent, again underlined the intensifying racially-skewed dynamic within the broader economic crisis.

This month’s report on Black employment and unemployment from the Center for Labor Research and Education of the University of California at Berkeley (PDF) noted that the Black unemployment figures stand in stark contrast to those of Whites, which plateaued at 8.0 percent for both months. Furthermore, the composite figures for Blacks mask the separately alarming predicaments of Black male and female workers. Unemployment for the former climbed from 18.1 to 18.6 percent, while that of Black females stood in May at 14,1 percent, down slightly from April’s 14.4 percent (compared to 7.5 and 7.6 percent, respectively, for white females workers).

That was just one of numerous statistics – including homeownership rates, the incidence of foreclosures, funds saved for retirement , household income, access to health care, and poverty rates — that show, amid the difficult present and worrisome prospects for several segments of American workers in general, Black Americans’ predicament continues to be the worst of all.

But, of all of this data, the Black unemployment rate, seeming now to be slowly spiraling upward on a curve of its own, presents the greatest danger. The reason is simple: If fewer and fewer Blacks have jobs, all of the other indices of their economic status will get worse.

Lee A. Daniels is Director of Communications for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. and Editor-in-Chief of TheDefendersOnline.

Brutal Racial Attacks Haven't Stopped in 'Post-Racial' America

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By Jesse Muhammad, Special to the NNPA from The Final Call –

(FinalCall.com) - As candidates from both parties line up to run and unseat President Barack Obama in 2012, some in the Black community are being forced to face the reality that race relations in America have not improved. Others were never under that illusion.

“I truly thought things might evolve racially with Obama in office. But I've watched even more racism spew from White folks, the Tea Party, and Republicans. I've watched them attack Michelle Obama and even read about all of the assassination attempts against her husband. It's sad,” Deborah Rogers, 60, told The Final Call.

Rogers says she stood in line for hours in Houston to vote for President Obama over two years ago in hopes that a change was on the horizon. “I feel like we're going backwards. A ‘post-racial America' was only a mirage,” she said.

“Black people got mesmerized by the Obama phenomenon. However, when it comes to the continuous heinous crimes done to Blacks and Hispanics in this country, the scales of justice remain unbalanced,” Kofi Taharka, national chairman of the National Black United Front, told The Final Call.

Reflecting on the 13th anniversary of the dragging death of James Byrd, Jr., Taharka says “much hasn't really changed since in terms of the treatment of Black people. But no matter who is in office we can't stop addressing the issues.”

On May 31, a Texas district judge ordered a Sept. 21 execution date for Lawrence Brewer, one of three White men convicted for the murder of Mr. Byrd in Jasper, Texas. John William King is expected to be executed as well and Shawn Berry is serving a life sentence for involvement in the crime.

“I'm against the death penalty and I would rather see them locked up for life and rot inside the prison to think about what they did,” said filmmaker Eligah Jason of Beaumont, Texas.

Jason directed an award-winning documentary on the life and tragic death of Byrd. “We wanted to let people know about who he was as a family man and not let this story die,” he said.

The 49-year-old Byrd was chained by his ankles to the rear of a truck and dragged along a rural road on June 7, 1998. Mr. Byrd's head and right arm were severed while his torso was dumped near a cemetery in Jasper County.

“Just because Texas has set an execution date for Lawrence Brewer, people should not think that this state all of a sudden cares about ending racism and addressing hate crimes,” said Gloria Rubac, of the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement.

“Racism is one of the weapons used by capitalists. This execution will not improve race relations when the system is making ugly attacks on the poor in education and immigration. We need a top down shift,” said Rubac.

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was signed into law in October 2009 by President Obama.

The act authorizes the federal government to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated crimes based on the victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. The bill also gives the federal government jurisdiction over prosecuting hate crimes in states where the current law is inadequate or when local authorities are unwilling or do not have the resources to do so themselves.

Attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz only sees it as a piece of paper that does not serve justice for the poor.

“The use and application of this act has been slow and disappointing. The local and state authorities have done a horrible job in bringing these hate crime laws into prosecution. Since President Obama has been elected there has been a noted increase in hate crimes and racist acts toward Blacks and Hispanics,” said Shabazz, who heads the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense.

The U.S. Justice Department announced that Frankie Maybee, 20, of Green Forest, Arkansas, was convicted on May 19 by a federal jury of five counts of committing a federal hate crime and one count of conspiring to commit a federal hate crime. Co-defendant Sean Popejoy pleaded guilty to one count of committing a federal hate crime and one count of conspiring to commit a federal hate crime.

This is the first conviction at trial for a violation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

“The defendants targeted five men because they were Hispanic, and today's verdict shows that the Justice Department is committed to vigorously prosecuting individuals who perform acts of hate because of someone's race or national origin,” said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division.

According to the Justice Department, on June 20, 2010, Maybee and Popejoy threatened and injured five Hispanic men who pulled into a gas station parking lot. The co-conspirators taunted the victims causing them to run off the road, and crash into a tree. The victims survived but suffered injuries.

“We will continue to use the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and every other tool in our law enforcement arsenal, to identify and prosecute hate crimes whenever they occur,” said Perez.

Blacks, Hispanics still victimized more

A November 2010 report by the FBI showed there were 8,336 victims of hate crimes the previous year. Over 4,000 of those crimes were race related and Blacks represented nearly 72 percent of the victims. Hispanics accounted for 62 percent of those victimized due to ethnicity or national origin.

Of the 6,225 known offenders, 62.4 percent were White, 18.5 percent were Black, and 7.3 percent were groups of individuals of various races, the report said.

Shabazz is quick to remind people about the case of Anthony Hill, who was shot in the head, tied up and dragged several miles by White male Gregory Collins early last June, according to South Carolina authorities in Newberry County.

“No hate crime charge was made. Gregory Collins took a plea deal and was sentenced to eight years in prison,” said Shabazz.

Also in June of last year, the Orange County sheriff's office in Beaumont, Texas reported that 35-year-old White male William Baker Bibb confessed to killing 26-year-old Theresa Ardoin, who was Black. Bibb allegedly dragged her body a quarter of a mile behind his pickup truck. Authorities said the two were in a relationship and there was no evidence the incident was a hate crime.

In September 2008, Brandon McClelland was dragged nearly 70 feet up and down a county road in Paris, Texas. Two White males, one of whom was allegedly a close friend, were accused of the crime. All of the charges against Shannon Finley and Charles Crostley were dropped.

A lot of questions are still lingering in Mississippi over how 26-year-old Frederick Jermaine Carter lost his life. The body of Carter was found Dec. 3, 2010 hanging from an oak tree in the predominately White North Greenwood area of Leflore County.

Despite local authorities ruling it a suicide based on a preliminary autopsy report from the Leflore County coroner's office, the victim's family, Black politicians, residents, and community activists haven't accept that declaration as the truth. No suspects have been charged.

Student Minister Robert Muhammad, of the Nation of Islam, was in attendance at the emotional funeral of Byrd over a decade ago. “We have to revitalize and reenergize our grassroots movement for justice regardless of who is running or who is elected in 2012,” he said.

Black GOP Candidate Herman Cain Resists Being Labeled 'African American'

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Special to the NNPA from the AFRO-American newspapers –

One presidential candidate’s perspective on race has ignited commentary and discussion about racial identity and its importance in the 2012 race.

When Bloomberg News interviewed Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, the conservative said he did not like to be labeled as “African-American”—instead, he said he preferred “American.”

“I don’t like people trying to label me. African-American is socially acceptable for some people, but I am not some people,” Cain said in the interview.

Gerren Gaynor, a journalist with NewsOne.com, agreed with Cain and said most African Americans had no close ties with their African lineage, and are “unidentifiable” to their “mother country.”

“African-Americans/Blacks/Negroes have no true sense of identity,” Gaynor wrote. “If you’re African-American, you’re more than likely far removed from the African continent and culture.”

Gaynor said that terms such as “African-American” are attempts to find an identity for a culture that has been “misplaced.”

“Cain couldn’t be more right. Identity is quite arbitrary, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with omitting “African” from our nationality,” Gaynor stated.

BET commentator Cord Jefferson refuted Cain’s statement, calling it “one of the stupidest sentences uttered in the African-American community.”

“Believing that it is somehow inaccurate or unpatriotic for a person to call himself an ‘African-American’ rather than just an ‘American’ is absurd, and this is a question that needs to be put to rest,” Jefferson wrote.

Jefferson said anyone who identifies themselves as “African American” does not automatically reject their American identity.

“We use the term ‘African’ not because of an allegiance to the continent of Africa, but because many of us—thanks to slavery—can’t trace our origins back to any specific nation,” he stated.

Cain is a radio talk show host and long-shot candidate as a favorite of the Tea Party movement. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and Purdue University and worked his way up the corporate ladder before becoming president and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza.

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