Here is where I get to give my commentary on the articles in the Black Men series.
Black Men Under Glass
I think the entire series showcased the idea that Black men are an animal of which we know little and are unaware, thus we have to look at them with a scientific eye to understand these strange beings.
However, going into the series I decided to read the articles with as much of a non-prejudiced eye as I could. I also tried to withhold commentary so that the links I provided were just about the article and not about me spouting off.
Now it is my turn.
To Start Off
At The Corner of Progress and Peril was the first piece in the series and I think it was a strong start. I thought it was a fair representation of the good and bad information concerning Black men, and showing the "stars" and the "not stars."
What really gave me some hope that the series would show an HONEST balance of what is going on, is The Poll that went along with the start of the series.
Black men report the same ambitions as most Americans -- for career success, a loving marriage, children, respect. And yet most are harshly critical of other black men, associating the group with irresponsibility and crime.
Black men describe a society rife with opportunities for advancement and models for success. But they also express a deep fear that their hold on the good life is fragile, in part because of discrimination they continue to experience in their daily lives.
- Six in 10 black men said their collective problems owe more to what they have failed to do themselves rather than "what white people have done to blacks." At the same time, half reported they have been treated unfairly by the police, and a clear majority said the economic system is stacked against them.
- More than half said they place a high value on marriage -- compared with 39 percent of black women -- and six in 10 said they strongly value having children. Yet at least 38 percent of all black fathers in the survey are not living with at least one of their young children, and a third of all never-married black men have a child. Six in 10 said that black men disrespect black women.
- Three in four said they value being successful in a career, more than either white men or black women. Yet majorities also said that black men put too little emphasis on education and too much emphasis on sports and sex.
- Eight in 10 said they are satisfied with their lives, and six in 10 reported that it is a "good time" to be a black man in the United States. But six in 10 also reported they often are the targets of racial slights or insults, two-thirds said they believe the courts are more likely to convict black men than whites, and a quarter reported they have been physically threatened or attacked because they are black.
- Black men said they strongly believe in the American Dream -- nine in 10 black men would tell their sons they can become anything they want to in life. But this vision of the future is laden with cautions and caveats: Two-thirds also would warn their sons that they will have to be better and work harder than whites for equal rewards.
Right away, the results jump out at you in a media sound bite world where people like Larry Elder and Alphonso Jackson make a name for themselves or claim that Blacks don't take responsibility for their actions or believe "the white man" is to blame. Additionally, let me state right now: In my life, I regularly interact with Black people of many economic levels. I mix with the poor, the middle class, and the well off. I don't mix with the rich and/or super wealthy. Rarely do I hear the phrase "the white man" or "the man", so when I hear someone else saying it is said, I immediately get suspicious. Am I saying "the white man" this or "the white man" that is not said? No, but I don't think "the white man" is the focus of many Black people as is lead on by some.
So, when Alphonso Jackson says something like:
"I am not going to let the black leadership -- the so-called leadership -- of this country tell me that I am a victim," he said. "I believe that if you work hard, strive to do the very best, things will work out for you. [That] doesn't mean you won't have obstacles -- you will. But we can't keep living in an era that is bygone," Jackson said. "We need to begin today to teach blacks that they can look in the mirror -- and that they have the ability, once they look in that mirror, to achieve."
Who is he really talking about? Or is it more important to determine who he is talking TO and why he is talking this way?
Also, Alphonso Jackson said this:
Nor do they have anything to do "with that fact that we have more black males in prison than we do in college."
OK, this is going to be a multi-part response. More later.