Black children need Black men.
While the enemy and some of us who are misinformed may not recognize or see the value of Black men in the lives of children, our community has seen a downward spiral over the last 30 years as Black men have been taken out of the community and incarcerated.
Since Black men have been incarcerated in the so-called War On Drugs, violence and lawlessness has increased along with apathy and a prevailing sense of hopelessness. What is needed is for Black men, men who say they know and believe in God, men who say they know who they are and their history, men who say they love themselves and their community to step forward and get involved.
Where? Anywhere. Everywhere.
There are church groups, fraternal groups, neighborhood groups, mosque groups, business groups, recreation groups, motorcycle groups and social groups. Pick a group or start a group and go to work.
This is not to say Black men don’t have problems: Young Black men suffer from higher rates of depression than other males and these young men feel like they should always essentially be alert, they feel like they are being watched and they watch for signs of danger. For Black teens, ages 16-19, unemployment remained at an abysmal seasonally adjusted rate of 35.5 percent at the close of last year. The Chicago Alternative Schools Network reported 92 percent of all Black male teens in the city; ages 16-19 were jobless in 2012.
A new American slave trade is booming and outrageous numbers of young Black men are in prison and increasing numbers of adults are undergoing incarceration. This 21st century American slave trade is connected to money states spend to keep people locked up, profits made through cheap prison labor and for-profit prisons, excessive charges inmates and families may pay for everything from tube socks to phone calls, and lucrative cross country shipping of inmates to relieve overcrowding and rent cells in faraway states and counties.
According to “One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008,” published by the Pew Center on the States, one in nine Black men between the ages of 20-34 are incarcerated compared to one in 30 other men of the same age.
These realities should tell us real Black men are needed front and center to meet these challenges head-on for their own good, the good of their women, the good of the community–and the good of their children.
We need knowledge, we need to organize and we must be fearless and relentless in facing these difficulties.
Of the 73.7 million children in the United States in 2012, 10.2 million–4 percent–were Black, and the number of Black children has been holding steady over the last decade at 10 to 11 million, according to the Children’s Defense Fund. The fund noted: Black children are the poorest children in America. Black children are more than three times as likely to be poor as White children. Black children are less likely to live in two-parent families. A Black baby is born to an unmarried mother every 75 seconds and to a teen mother every 7 minutes. Black children living with single mothers are three-and-a-half times as likely to be poor as Black children living with married parents.
Black children suffer worse health outcomes. Each day Black babies die before their first birthday, a total of 6,973 babies a year. Black babies are more than twice as likely as White babies to die before their first birthdays. Black children are twice as likely to die before their 18th birthday as White children.
Black students fall behind early on and do not catch up. Black children are 18 percent of preschool enrollment but 48 percent of preschool children receiving more than one out-of-school suspension. More than 80 percent of fourth and eighth grade Black public school students cannot read or compute at grade level compared to less than 57 percent of White students.
Black children are overrepresented in maltreatment cases and foster care. A Black child is confirmed abused or neglected every three-and-a-half minutes. Every day a Black child is killed by abuse or neglect.
Black children are at greatest risk of being funneled into the prison pipeline. Black students made up only 18 percent of students in public schools in 2009-2010 but were 40 percent of students who received one or more out-of-school suspensions. A Black public school student is suspended every 4 seconds during the school day. A Black child is arrested every 68 seconds.
Black children and teens are at highest risk of gun violence. Gun violence is the leading cause of death among Black children ages 1-19. The number of Black children and teens killed by guns between 1963 and 2010 is 17 times greater than the recorded lynchings of Black people of all ages from 1882 to 1968.
No cavalry is coming to rescue us; we must unite and rescue ourselves. Reciting a litany of abuses inflicted from outside of the community and self-destructive acts committed on one another, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan called for Black men to stop the violence, acquire knowledge and take their place as community builders and not destroyers in the 47th installment of his weekly webcast, “The Time and What Must Be Done.” The 52-week series was broadcast at NOI.org.
It is time for Black people, Black men especially, to strike out and create a future for themselves, said the Minister. God is with us and our women would love and respect us for doing what we should do as children of God, he said. If we are the children of God, we should be found doing the work of our father. Come on Black man, stand up, and let’s build a new world.