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Pain suffered by Black boys and young men in report

Kush Azrael | 11/6/2013, 10:27 a.m.

The plight of Black males has been studied for decades. Black males are falling further behind other groups in health, education and employment.

A new report by Cleveland based Policy Bridge looks at the struggles of Black boys and young men trying to find their place in society.

Usually Black leaders blame the legacy of slavery, institutional racism, and poverty.

“Easing the Pain- Communities Must Act to Heal the Wounds of African American Boys and Young Men,” says the root of the problem is pain.

Whatever the reason, the report points out staggering figures that paint a bleak picture for these boys and young men. Their graduation rate is only 47 percent, 26 percent live in poverty 39 out of every 100,000 will be killed, 47 out of every 1,000 will be incarcerated and 44 out of every 100 live apart from their fathers.

The report starts with the definition of pain and goes on to say “many young Black men endure daily emotional stress or anguish which they try to avoid by any means necessary.” The pain causes them to see the world through a certain lens leading to perceptions and assumptions that make them feel hopeless, confused and trapped.

All children want and need a caring adult in their lives and usually thrives when there is one in their life according to the report. When there is not one, the report says they are more likely to join gangs, engage in criminal activity and drop out of school.

The report quotes New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu who says “America is drunk on violence and those paying the highest price are African American males.” One of his suggestions is some type of economic incentive by looking at those deaths as lost revenues. He says each death cost America $7 million. According to the Policy Bridge report in 2012 there were 97 murders in Cleveland costing the city $679 million.

So who understands this problem? The report cites a couple of studies that look at the different views these boys and young men have of society. One study grouped boys in pairs to try to get them to think before they act. They were given a ball and told to get the ball from the other one. In every pair there was a struggle. However they never simply asked for the ball because they thought the other one would think they were a punk by asking. In another study respect was the focus. It was found that those with a more “pro-social” attitude toward respect were less prone to violence.

Studying these problems is nothing new, however no one has been able to come up with concrete strategies to change the current trend. Many have tried but can’t seem to make the right connections to make change happen. According to the report everyone is responsible even the youths themselves. The policy bridge report says there needs to be more responsible policies that are aimed at total societal good.

The report highlights some things that need to happen. Give the youth more to do, teach them to make better decisions, find alternatives to incarceration, engage the youth on every level, provide jobs, and celebrate the youth.

These things don’t take much effort however they take dedication.

You cant always see the pain that Black boys and young men suffer from but its there lurking in their consciousness. Sadly its usually identified when they act out.