The destructive plight of young Black men is something that we can no longer ignored. At least that’s what recent studies are saying about the state of Black men in America. However, you don’t have to look at a survey or government report to understand the many challenges facing the Black men of our community. It is common knowledge that Blacks in general and Black men in particular, are disproportionately affected by unemployment, incarceration, lack of education and health problems. More than half of our young men in Pima County do not complete high school and an even greater percentage find themselves eventually shackled by felony convictions.
Black men are more often blamed for all that is wrong and troubling in our community. We are stereotypically described by mainstream media as lazy, ignorant and dangerous. Blacks are also said to be more interested in making babies, causing trouble, breaking laws and getting high than in doing anything positive that might enhance their lives or the lives of those who love them.
We must not allow ourselves to buy into the hype of institutional racism. The truth is, that while there are some Black men who seem to be determined to bring down and destroy our families and neighborhoods, there are far more who are looking for ways to restore hope, locate economic opportunities, and promote healthier ways of living.
Some of us can take comfort in knowing that we have raised our kids to respect the law, aspire to achieve excellent educational opportunities, and we have even raised them in excellent middle-class neighborhoods. The painful reality is that it does not give them immunity from harm in the face of those who have not been as fortunate. We must do more.