Black men are sometimes referred to as an endangered species, a comparison that irks even some black men, especially those who don’t take kindly to being compared to a spotted owl. A New York Times article which found that 1.5 million black men are effectively missing from society is sure to reignite the debate over whether the American black man is endangered.
These ‘missing’ black men aren’t on the back of milk cartons and they haven’t been kidnapped. According to the Times, they’re missing from society because they’re either dead or in jail:
In New York, almost 120,000 black men between the ages of 25 and 54 are missing from everyday life. In Chicago, 45,000 are, and more than 30,000 are missing in Philadelphia. Across the South — from North Charleston, S.C., through Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi and up into Ferguson, Mo. — hundreds of thousands more are missing.
They are missing, largely because of early deaths or because they are behind bars. Remarkably, black women who are 25 to 54 and not in jail outnumber black men in that category by 1.5 million, according to an Upshot analysis. For every 100 black women in this age group living outside of jail, there are only 83 black men. Among whites, the equivalent number is 99, nearly parity.
This data aligns with a recent Brookings Institute study, republished in QZ.com under the title Why Black Women With College Degrees Can’t Get Ahead, which found that educated black women have a tougher time becoming upwardly mobile because they can’t find a black man with a similar academic background. This also means more black women never marry:
Marriage rates are lower among black women compared to white women, even among those with a college education. The proportion of black college graduates aged 25 to 35 who have never married is 60 percent, compared to 38 percent for white college-educated women.
Many black women who do marry end up marrying “down”, which, according to the study, has a negative impact on the potential for upward mobility:
If we narrow our focus to those college graduates who do marry, the race gap remains clear: compared to whites, black college graduates are much more likely to have “married down,” in terms of education. White, married college graduates are slightly more likely (11% versus 8%) to have a better-educated husband (i.e., with post-graduate qualifications).
The real point here is that the death and incarceration rate among black men is tearing the black community apart. The question we’re left with is.. what are we going to do to change it?