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 enormous disparities that hinder their academic achievement.1 Black male students

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 and discipline

Black male students are also expelled at an alarming rate.
This is particularly concerning given the school-to-prison pipeline (see Justice statistics).
3 GBlack male students and expulsion

“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 Black male students and opportunity
Although the recession has ended, black male unemployment is still high.
In January 2013, it was more than double the white male unemployment rate.
5 Black male unemployment rate

“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 African American job market

Black men who are employed earn only 71 percent of what white men earn.7 Black male earnings

Over a quarter of black men and boys live in poverty.8 Black men and poverty
Based on Pew Research Center analysis, black fathers are more than twice as likely
as white fathers to live apart from their children.
9 Black fathers

Black men are also more likely to have children outside of marriage.10 Black men and children outside marriage

However, black fathers living apart from their children are, in some ways,
more likely to be in contact with their children.
11 Black fathers and contact with children
The life expectancy of black males is five years less than that of white males.12 Black male life expectancy

Among teenagers, black males have the highest death rate.13 Black male teen death rate

Homicide is the leading cause of death of black male teenagers.
For all other groups, accident is the leading cause of death.
14 Homicide and black male teens

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 HIV rates
“More African American adults are under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.” -Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness16 Black male inmates

Black males between 25 and 39 years old, arguably in the prime of life, are the most likely to be incarcerated.17 Black male incarceration rate

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 School to prison pipeline

“Dropping out of high school is an apprenticeship for prison.” -Emil Jones, former Illinois State Senate President19 HIV rates
Sources