Senior Correspondent

Urban League report focuses on the Black male

WASHINGTON ( – The prospects are bleak. Genocide is no exaggeration.

Incarceration, AIDS, unemployment and the school drop-out rate are all problems challenging Black people in America–Black males in particular–and according to this year’s annual report released Apr. 17 by the National Urban League (NUL) entitled “The State of Black America: Portrait of the Black Male,” these problems represent the most serious social crisis occurring in the United States today.


“A quarter of all Black Americans live below the federal poverty level, a poverty rate about twice the national rate,” Illinois Senator Barack Obama (D) writes in the report’s foreword. “In some cities, more than half of all Black boys do not finish high school, and by the time they are in their 30s, almost six in ten Black high school dropouts will have spent time in prison.”

The bad statistics concerning Black men go on and on. Half of all Black men in their 20s are unemployed, and more young Black men are in prison than in college.

“Empowering Black men to reach their full potential is the most serious economic and civil rights challenge we face today,” NUL President Marc H. Morial told reporters at the National Press Club. “Ensuring their future is critical, not just for the African American community, but for the prosperity, health, and well-being of the entire American family.”

Black males are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as White males, and nearly seven times more likely to be incarcerated, with their average jail sentences 10 months longer than those of White men. In addition, Black males between the ages of 15 and 34 are nine times more likely than Whites to be killed by firearms, and nearly eight times as likely to have AIDS.

As a solution to the problems, the report recommends universal early-childhood education; all-male schools which emphasize mentoring programs and longer class hours; more “second chance” programs for dropouts and former offenders; a restoration of the Summer Jobs Program; and an effort to convince children that education pays dividends later in life.

“Instill it and drill it,” states Mr. Morial. “Turn off the TV and open up the book. We need our parents to be a part of this conversation, and we should not leave the idea that any amount of public policy measures and gestures will work without a partnership with those who have the responsibility for lifting and raising our children.”

The NUL embraces what it calls “comprehensive solutions.” Recognizing that there are some important things to be done in the public policy arena, Mr. Morial emphasizes that Blacks themselves, and “our families, our people across the nation have to be united in helping to solve this problem.”

During the last several months, a number of prominent media outlets and national social service agencies have focused on the crisis of Black males, he said, insisting that this effort could lead to success, where the others have produced mixed results, if the NUL continues to promote some of the “best practices” the agency has seen around the country.

“There are solutions out there that are working, but they don’t operate on a large enough scale,” said Mr. Morial. “There are ideas out there that get results, but they don’t operate on a large enough scale. We must recognize our African American men not as statistics and numbers in a report; we must recognize them as husbands and fathers, as sons and as role models. We must recognize them as a positive force in the future of this great American nation.

“It’s fashionable in some places to demonize African American men. It’s fashionable to take a few who may have strayed and suggest that they represent the whole. Those of us who are entrusted with leadership in our local communities, and our national communities, cannot walk down that path. We have got to walk down the path that is confronting this crisis, and solving this problem is not only good for Black America, not only good for the Black male, but is an issue for all of America. It’s an issue for all walks of life. It is an issue that indeed, we have to confront,” Mr. Morial continued.

The NUL report bears witness to the condition fo the Black man and the conspiracy to destroy Black males. Some have argued that the conspiracy to destroy the Black male is a “theory,” however, the scripture of the Bible gives proof of the reality of a plan to destroy the male child.

During the time of Moses, the Pharoah of that day issued a decree to destroy all of the male children of Israel, as well as during the time of the birth of Jesus, when King Herod issued a decree to kill all of the boy babies to stop the birth of The Messiah.

The conspiracy and plan to target the Black male is best expressed in the Bible in Exodus 1:10, wherein Pharoah states “Come let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply and join onto our enemy and come against us in war.”

Although the NUL report stated there are solutions, but they don’t operate on a large enough scale, the report, however, fails to reflect the decades of work and admired results achieved by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

Beginning in the late 1980s, Min. Farrakhan toured the country, alerting young Black men to a planned genocide against them by the U.S. government through his “Stop the Killing” tour.

This series of lectures was aimed at informing the community, and young Black men in particular, of the government’s plan to target young Black men for destruction. It was also during this period that Min. Farrakhan worked with youth gangs to help promote peace, and with rappers in the hip hop community to help decrease conflict.

In the mid-1990s, Min. Farrakhan launched another national tour entitled “Men Only Meetings” where he again alerted Black males of the government’s plan to promote a negative image of the Black man in the U.S. and in the world as a “menace to society.” This image, according to Min. Farrakhan, was largely promoted through movies and other negative imagery to set up the Black male for destruction.

It was during these series of men only meetings that Min. Farrakhan spoke of a Million Man March that he began to mobilize for in 1995. The Million Man March was the most successful mobilization of Black men in U.S. history, when more than two million men rallied on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on October 16, 1995.

Growing out of the Million Man March, more Black men voted in the 1996 election than had ever voted before, and tens of thousands of Black children were adopted by families headed by Black males.

“We must close the jobs gap. We must close the education gap. We must close the high school graduation gap. But I suggest to you, that we’ve got to close–as Senator Obama says in his foreword–the empathy gap. We’ve got to close the gap of concern in this nation today,” said Mr. Morial.

The Urban League has got to “make sure this problem does not get ignored, because indeed, if this is ignored, it will only get worse,” Maudine Cooper, president of the Greater Washington Urban League, told The Final Call. “As you watch the things that have happened to our young African American males, there’s been a heightened lifting of issues that they have to deal with. At some point, you almost get to the top of the mountain, and if you don’t do something about it at that point, then you will only see these problems become progressively worse.”

As in recent years past, this report contains an “Equality Index,” which is a statistical measurement of disparities–or “equality gaps”–between Blacks and Whites across five different categories: Economics, education, health, civic engagement, and social justice.

Overall, Blacks made negligible gains in narrowing the equality gap with Whites. According to the report, the status of Blacks was 73.3 percent that of Whites, up from the 73 percent reported in 2006. In most areas, the gap narrowed only marginally, but in the area of social justice, Blacks actually lost ground–the report stated that the Black social status was 66 percent that of White social status, compared to 74 percent reported in 2006.

“That’s what makes it so challenging,” said Ms. Cooper. “Where do you start? The resources are limited; the problems are many. Where do you enter the circle, and how do you–once you enter that circle–stop the decline; stop the young men who are just so disenfranchised and just so tired of trying to butt heads against this system?

“And where do you start with young men with that kind of a challenge in front of them? Do you start in the first grade? Pre-K? Middle School? High School? It’s such a tremendous problem. If we, in the Urban League movement, can start tackling them one or two at a time, then we can indeed make a real difference in our community,” she said.

Just as the agenda of the Millions More Movement, with its outline of Nine Ministries: Health and Human Services; Agriculture; Education; Defense; Art and Culture; Trade and Commerce; Justice; Information; and Science and Technology designed to cover the full scope of human needs, Mr. Morial said the Urban League’s State of Black America report is a model of a potential solution to the problems facing Black males.

“We urge our public officials, policy makers, scholars and others committed to addressing the problems of race, poverty, and justice to carefully study the State of Black America 2007 report and use it as a blueprint for finally and fully attacking the problems we all live with.

“Poverty, the racial divide, and social injustice impact not only those who suffer most visibly; they also tear apart the fabric of our nation in ways that damage and diminish us all. Alleviating poverty and injustice is a responsibility we must never forget or abandon,” he said.