California Report Shows Depths of African-American Problems

A new study on the problems facing men of color in California is perhaps the first step toward fighting the many issues hurting Black and Latino men and children in the state.

Posted: 08/10/2012 02:51 PM EDT
Filed Under National News

If you’re reading BET.com, you probably already know that African-Americans, and especially African-American men, are not in a wonderful place in history right now. Black unemployment is in the double digits, and with that joblessness comes record-high poverty statistics. And what happens when people are poor and have practically no job prospects? Often they turn to crime, as seen in places like Chicago, which is currently suffering from a seemingly endless stream of shooting victims, most of them Black.


But while Chicago and other locales suffer their own traumas, according to a new report, African-American men in California are in dire straits themselves, and the enormity of the state means a lot of people are hurting.


Reports the Oakland Tribune’s Scott Johnson:

In California, by a 36 to 27 percent ratio, young African-American men without a high school diploma or its equivalent are more likely to be found languishing in prison than working a regular job. Young Latino men are roughly 40 percent more likely than white men to wind up serving time in an adult prison. And African-American kindergarteners are more than three times as likely as their white playmates to believe they lack the ability to succeed in school.


Besides just those, the report is full of other statistics showing that, for thousands and thousands of men and children of color in the state of California, education and other opportunities for growth are abysmal or nonexistent. In 2007, for instance, only 55 percent of Black boys and 54 percent of Latino boys graduated from high school in California. "From the very outset, our schools lack the human and institutional capacity to respond effectively to the needs of these youth," reads one part of the report.


Though the study’s findings may be difficult to read, that they exist at all means that California is at least on the right track toward fixing things. The report is the result of a group called the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color, an organization of California assemblymen dedicated to addressing the needs of Black and brown people in the state. Whereas many places might be content to leave Black issues in the dark, California is at least taking initial steps to try and mitigate the problems. Whether or not they follow through, however, only time will tell.


These views do not necessarily represent those of the BET Networks.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

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