Easing the Pain Communities Must Act to Heal Wounds of African-American Boys and Young Men

by Gregory L. Brown; Randell McShepard

Oct 1, 2013

This report looks at the struggles of Black boys and young men and how pain is the root of the problem. It attempts to answer the questions, "Who Cares?", "Who Understands?", and "Who's Responsible?".
  • Compared to White males, Black males are paid less for full-time work, involved in more acts of homicide, less likely to graduate, more likely to be incarcerated, more likely to have fathers who live apart from them, and more likely to have HIV.
  • African-American teenagers and young men often have very different views of the world, how it works and what they need to do to survive. This can lead to distorted thinking about how they operate within their communities.
  • Conflict mediation, respecting peers, and cooperation are often seen as signs of weakness in urban neighborhoods.
  • Everyone is responsible for reversing the lack of investment and interest in African-American boys and young men. Parents; community leaders; churches; schools; neighbors; local, state and federal lawmakers; businesses; media; professional sports teams; nonprofit agencies; the juvenile and adult justice systems, and minority youth themselves all need to take responsibility.
  • Recommendations include: Support community youth programming, Teach parents, guardians, and teachers the tool of social autopsy, Initiate alternatives to incarceration, Interface regularly with African American male youth, Provide jobs and supportive services leading to careers Celebrate youth.