America Is Designed for many Young Black Men to Fail
Written by Phillip Jackson   
Tuesday, 22 March 2016 23:46


Success for Young Black Men In America Is Accidental in many cases

Many people disagree with the title of this commentary. "You don't know what I been through to help make my Black son successful! I worked hard to get my son through school. I fought with gangs. I fought with the school. I fought with teachers. I fought with police. I fought with his friends. I fought with other parents. I held two jobs to pay for tutoring and private school. I moved to an expensive suburb. Please don't call my son's success accidental."

That's exactly why I call it "accidental." Black parents, and no parents in America, should have to fight that hard and in those ways to help their sons become successful. An accident is defined as an unplanned, unexpected, and not designed (not purposefully caused) event. Based on the data below, success for many Black males in America is not intentional, not expected, not planned, not the norm and not designed. Most Black males don't succeed because of their education in America, they succeed in spite of their education in America. Therefore, when success happens, it is "accidental."

But I leave it to you, the reader, to decide if Black male success is accidental or intentional. Please review the following data and facts, mostly from Chicago, Illinois. Look at the obstacles that a young Black man must overcome to become successful in America. The data, these facts and those odds are why I say, "If a young Black man in America is able to succeed, it is accidental, and not intentional! In fact, America is designed for young Black men to fail!"

1) Only 7 out of 100 (7%) of 8th-grade Black boys in Chicago read proficiently according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

2) Only 6 out of 100 (6%) of Black male high school students in Chicago will attain a college degree by age 26 according to a study by the University of Chicago's Consortium for Chicago School Research.

3) Only 41 out of 100 (41%) of Black males in Chicago graduate from high according to the Schott Foundation for Public Education.

4) 47 out of 100 (47% - almost half) of young Black men in Chicago ages 20 to 24 years old are not in school and not working beginning one year after finishing high school according to a study from the University of Illinois Chicago Great Cities Institute.

5) 88.5 out of 100 (about 90%) of young Black men between the ages of 16 and 19 are not working in Chicago according to a study by the University of Illinois Chicago Great Cities Institute.

6) 58% of 48,921 prison inmates in Illinois are Black men and about 9,000 detainees in Cook County Jail are Black men at a per year average cost of $22,191 or about $840,000,000 per year according to Illinois Department of Corrections and Cook County Jail statistics.

7) Employers prefer White felons over Blacks with no criminal record according to a Princeton University study.

8) White high schools dropouts are just as likely to have a job as Blacks students with some college according to a study by Young Invincibles.

While there is a plan to help people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Israel and other countries around the world, there is no comprehensive plan to help young Black men like the ones mentioned above in Chicago or the ones in your city. Young Black male students have the worst grades, the lowest test scores, and the highest dropout rates of all students in the country. When these young black men don't succeed in school, they are much more likely to succeed in the nation's criminal justice and penitentiary system, in the streets and on the corners of America and in our cemeteries and graveyards.

Worst of all is the passivity, neglect and disengagement of the Black community concerning the future of our Black boys. We do little while the future lives of Black boys are being destroyed in record numbers. The schools that Black boys attend prepare them with skills that will make them obsolete before, and if, they graduate. In a strange and perverse way, the Black community, itself, has started to wage a kind of war against young Black men and has become part of this destructive process.

Who are young Black women going to marry? Who is going to build and maintain the economies of Black communities? Who is going to anchor strong families in the Black community? Who will young Black boys emulate as they grow into men? Where is the outrage of the Black community at the destruction of its Black boys? Where are the plans and the supportive actions to change this? Is this the beginning of the end of the Black people in America?

Please consider these simple goals that can lead to solutions for fixing the problems of young Black men:

Short term

1) Teach all Black boys to read at grade level by the third grade and to embrace education.

2) Provide positive role models for Black boys.

3) Create a stable home environment for Black boys that includes contact with their fathers.

4) Ensure that Black boys have a strong spiritual base.

5) Control the negative media influences on Black boys.

6) Teach Black boys to respect all girls and women.

7) Encourage Black boys to provide maximum effort in work and school

Long term

1) Invest as much money in educating Black boys as in locking up Black men.

2) Help connect Black boys to a positive vision of themselves in the future.

3) Create high expectations and help Black boys live into those high expectations.

4) Build a positive peer culture for Black boys.

5) Teach Black boys self-discipline, culture and history.

6) Teach Black boys and the communities in which they live to embrace education and life-long learning.

7) Encourage Black men to embrace entrepreneurship, business development and institution building in the Black community.

By Phillip Jackson
Founder and Executive Director
The Black Star Project
3509 South King Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60653
(for Press contact but not for publication – 312.771.1010)
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About the author of this article (previously published by the Sri Lanka Guardian):  Phillip Jackson is the founder and executive director of The Black Star Project in Chicago.  This organization is a philanthropic entity intented to encourage and support young people in academic development through community and parental involvement.  Jackson is an American politician who worked in human services at the Chicago Office of Management and Budget (1994) before being part of the Chicago Public Schools as director of intergovernmental affairs in 1995 (where he has also served as chief of education) and the Chicago Housing Authority (which has an annual budget of over $881 million) as CEO in 1999. Jackson has been active with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, operating as CEO.  Jackson is the recipient of a Chicago Cares "Power of One" Leadership Award and the 2003 Illinois Fatherhood Initiative's Father of the Year.  Jackson is a graduate of Roosevelt University and National Louis University. He received a BA in philosophy and a certificate in education, respectively.