Why Black Male Achievement Matters
As illustrated by the data below, nearly every major indicator of economic, social, and physical well-being shows that Black men and boys in the U.S. do not have access to the structural supports and opportunities needed to thrive. This results in negative consequences not only for Black males themselves, but also for society at large. These data points underscore the importance of why Black male achievement matters.
Black male students face disproportionate disciplinary measures in public schools. For example, they are suspended at a higher rate than their peers.2
Black male students are also expelled at an alarming rate. This is particularly concerning given the school-to-prison pipeline (see Justice statistics).3
“These unconscionable outcomes for these young boys and men are not reflective of their potential or their abilities – but a direct result of denying them equitable supports and resources they need to be fully engaged and succeed.” -John H. Jackson, President and CEO, Schott Foundation for Public Education4
“Over the past four decades, the job market for working-age African-American males has essentially collapsed in cities across the country…To borrow [William Julius] Wilson’s expression, work has disappeared for Black males in urban America.” -Dr. Marc V. Levine, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee6
Black men who are employed earn only 71 percent of what white men earn.7
Over a quarter of Black men and boys live in poverty.8
Black men are also more likely to have children outside of marriage.10
However, Black fathers living apart from their children are, in some ways, more likely to be in contact with their children.11
Among teenagers, Black males have the highest death rate.13
Homicide is the leading cause of death of Black male teenagers. For all other groups, accident is the leading cause of death.14
African Americans are the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV in the U.S. Young African-American gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are especially at risk of HIV infection.15
Black males between 25 and 39 years old, arguably in the prime of life, are the most likely to be incarcerated.17
The school-to-prison pipeline is a disturbing national trend where children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. This pipeline affects young Black men in particular.18
“Dropping out of high school is an apprenticeship for prison.” -Emil Jones, former Illinois State Senate President19
- 1Schott Foundation for Public Education, Lost Opportunity: A 50 State Report on the Opportunity to Learn in America, May 2009.
- 2U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 2006 National and State Estimations, January 2012.
- 4Schott Foundation for Public Education, The Urgency of Now: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males, September 2012.
- 5Seasonally adjusted household data; U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economic News Release, last modified February 1, 2013.
- 6Levine, Marc V., Race and Male Employment in the Wake of the Great Recession: Black Male Employment Rates in Milwaukee and the Nation’s Largest Metro Areas, 2010, January 2012.
- 7Economic Policy Institute, Whiter Jobs, Higher Wages, February 2011.
- 8U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2011 Poverty.
- 9Livingston, Gretchen and Kim Parker, A Tale of Two Fathers: More Are Active, but More Are Absent, Pew Research Center, June 2011.
- 12Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 60, Number 4, Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2010, January 2012.
- 13Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Number 37, Mortality Among Teenagers Aged 12-19 Years: United States, 1999-2006, May 2010.
- 15Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, HIV in the United States: At a Glance, last modified November 26, 2012.
- 16U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Correctional Populations in the United States, 2010, December 2011.
- 18Sum, Andrew, Ishwar Khatiwada, and Joseph McLaughlin, The Consequences of Dropping out of High School: Joblessness and Jailing for High School Dropouts and the High Cost for Taxpayers, Northeastern University, Center for Labor Market Studies, October 2009.