Black Men in Crisis

Reply Sat 21 Aug, 2010 12:13 am
A tragic crisis of enormous magnitude is facing black boys and men in America.

Bob Herbert

Parental neglect, racial discrimination and an orgy of self-destructive behavior have left an extraordinary portion of the black male population in an ever-deepening pit of social and economic degradation.

The Schott Foundation for Public Education tells us in a new report that the on-time high school graduation rate for black males in 2008 was an abysmal 47 percent, and even worse in several major urban areas — for example, 28 percent in New York City.
Terrible injustices have been visited on black people in the United States, but there is never a good reason to collaborate in one’s own destruction. Blacks in America have a long and proud history of overcoming hardship and injustice. It’s time to do it again

Herbert should get points for not disregarding the fact that the break down of the Black family and its negative effect on kids is a primary cause of what ails blacks. And still more for using restraint on playing the victim card, for calling on Blacks to get their **** together. This is an encouraging development, though I have been impressed with several things that Herbert has said over the last few years.
Reply Sat 21 Aug, 2010 01:21 pm
That's right. It's all their fault. No need to feel any sense of responsibility...... Rolling Eyes
Robert Gentel
Reply Mon 23 Aug, 2010 10:20 am
I know a lot of bigots like to ascribe the woes of minorities to dispositional characteristics, ignoring the situational factors that contributed to their plight, but there is no ignoring that in America the black community exhibits some very pernicious and self-destructive culture.

And yes, bigots will use this kind of thing to argue that this is dispositional but as Cosby said when he spoke out against the same negative elements of African-American culture "let them talk!" it would be a great disservice to let bigots help evade painful truths and I wish more voices would speak out in recognition of the self-destructive culture in the black community.

As Herbert says, "terrible injustices have been visited on black people in the United States, but there is never a good reason to collaborate in one’s own destruction."

Right now I wish more black leaders would be willing to speak out against the anti-education culture and against the parental neglect that is so pervasive in some black communities. It is sad that education is so uncool to some of the people who could most use it to lift themselves out, and the culture that promulgates the self-destructive behavior so hard to speak out against.

This really is close to a crisis, and I applaud blakcs like Cosby and Herbert who speak out against it knowing that they will often be excoriated by the very culture they speak out against as being "Uncle Toms", as if calling for values like education and parenting are to assimilate to an anti-black establishment. I think reasonable people should be able to recognize that this kind of culture is pernicious to the black community and that it developed through situational factors such as wide-spread, institutional racism.

In short, we should not avoid the debate for fear that it is to ascribe to blacks dispositional deficiency. The bigots will do this, and as Cosby dismissed, "let them talk." It shouldn't get in the way of the tough introspection they are calling for and that is entirely called for.
Reply Mon 23 Aug, 2010 11:11 am
Where did you get that from the article?
I read it and didnt get that at all.
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Reply Mon 23 Aug, 2010 01:11 pm
@Robert Gentel,
This really is close to a crisis, and I applaud blacks like Cosby and Herbert who speak out against it knowing that they will often be excoriated by the very culture they speak out against as being "Uncle Toms", as if calling for values like education and parenting are to assimilate to an anti-black establishment.
this column was the continuation of a theme with Herbert, not a new direction. I sense extreme frustration with him. In Jan he excoriated black leadership

Some decades ago, you would have heard a sustained outcry against such dire conditions among blacks, and there would have been loud demands for policy changes designed to bring more black Americans into the economic mainstream. You don’t hear much of that now. Too many so-called black leaders are much more interested in invitations to the White House and positive profiles in mainstream publications than in raising any kind of ruckus that might benefit people in real trouble.

What the politicians and today’s civil rights types won’t tell you is that we’re looking ahead to many long decades of grief and strife in America’s black communities because of our failure to respond effectively to the horrendous impact of the Great Recession and the policies that led up to it. Black Americans are going backward economically, and right now no one is stepping up to stop the retreat
Reply Mon 23 Aug, 2010 01:22 pm
I see now that this latest Herbert piece is a bit of a retread...from 2005:

It is time to blow the whistle on the nitwits who have so successfully promoted a values system that embraces murder, drug-dealing, gang membership, misogyny, child abandonment and a sense of self so diseased that it teaches children to view the men in their orbit as niggaz and the women as hoes.

However this madness developed, it's time to bring it to an end.

I noticed that Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Snoop Dogg and other "leaders" and celebrities turned out in South Central Los Angeles on Tuesday for the funeral of Stanley "Tookie" Williams, the convicted killer and co-founder of the Crips street gang who was executed in California last week.

This mindless celebration of violence, the essence of gangsta rap, is a reflection of the nihilism that has taken root in one neighborhood after another over the past few decades, destroying many, many lives. The authorities here have not suggested that Duncan or his friends were involved in any criminal behavior. But the appeal of the hip-hop environment is strong, and a lot of good kids are striving to conform to images established by clowns like 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg.

The members of Graveside wanted badly to make it as rappers. Said one police officer, "They probably didn't even know they were playing with fire."

The Rev. Eugene Rivers, who has been fighting for years to reduce youth violence in Boston and elsewhere, was a neighbor of E. J. Duncan's. "My son Malcolm knew E. J. well," he told me.

He described the murders as a massacre and said he has long been worried about the glorification of violence and antisocial behavior. "Thug life," he said, "is now being globalized," thanks to the powerful marketing influence of international corporations.

This problem is not limited to the black community. E. J. Duncan and his friends came from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. But it is primarily a black problem, and it is impossible to overstate its dimensions.

I understand that jobs are hard to come by for many people, and that many schools are substandard, and that racial discrimination is still widespread. But those are not good reasons for committing cultural suicide
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Reply Mon 23 Aug, 2010 01:42 pm
Sociologist Oscar Lewis suggested the following

The people in the culture of poverty have a strong feeling of marginality, of helplessness, of dependency, of not belonging. They are like aliens in their own country, convinced that the existing institutions do not serve their interests and needs. Along with this feeling of powerlessness is a widespread feeling of inferiority, of personal unworthiness. This is true of the slum dwellers of Mexico City, who do not constitute a distinct ethnic or racial group and do not suffer from racial discrimination. In the United States the culture of poverty that exists in the Negroes has the additional disadvantage of racial discrimination. People with a culture of poverty have very little sense of history. They are a marginal people who know only their own troubles, their own local conditions, their own neighborhood, their own way of life. Usually, they have neither the knowledge, the vision nor the ideology to see the similarities between their problems and those of others like themselves elsewhere in the world. In other words, they are not class conscious, although they are very sensitive indeed to status distinctions. When the poor become class conscious or members of trade union organizations, or when they adopt an internationalist outlook on the world they are, in my view, no longer part of the culture of poverty although they may still be desperately poor. (Lewis 1998)

Lewis' Idea originally published in 1965 became part of the American ethos concerning "the Ghetto"

Although Lewis was concerned with poverty in the developing world, the culture of poverty concept proved attractive to US public policy makers and politicians. It strongly informed documents such as the Moynihan Report (1965) and the War on Poverty more generally.

Since then many people have been fighting the culture of poverty stereotype noting that it is not accurate, nor does it help empower people in poverty.

Since the 1960s critics of culture of poverty explanations for the persistence of the underclasses have attempted to show that real world data do not fit Lewis' model (Goode and Eames, 1996). Despite decades of this criticism by prominent sociologists, anthropologists and other academics who argue that descriptions of the poor as being culturally unique have little explanatory power, the culture of poverty concept persists in popular culture.
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