10 Jul 2013

College enrollment for Black Women hits record high

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EDUCATION | Black Women have surpassed all groups by race and gender for college entrance

By Janks Morton

College Enrollment

For the first time since the US Census has collected data around educational attainment and enrollment, in 2011 African-American women’s enrollment in colleges has hit a record high. According to the analysis of the most recent census data, nearly 1 in 10 of every African-American females are enrolled in colleges and universities, suggesting the prohibitive barriers to entry typically associated with women and minorities may be finally eroding in post-secondary settings.

The “enrollment status of the population”— an annual report from the US Census Bureau’s   CPS (current population survey) estimates the  percentage of a groups educational attainment by age, sex and racial categories—hit a record 9.7  percent in 2011  for Black Alone and Female metrics, according to the report.  This represents a 31 percent increase from 2000 reporting of 7.4 percent.

The average percentage enrollment for the U.S. population is 6.9 percent (6.3 percent for males, 7.5 percent for females.)

The college enrollment rate is one measure of a country, group and individual competitiveness. The rising enrollment rate over the past decade suggests that while factors as the economic downturn, and unemployment and underemployment rates for college graduates remains high 52 percent (Andrew Sum: The Nation’s underemployed in the “Great Recession” of 2007–09,)  increasing tuition costs and long-term student debt, most Americans still perceive college attendance as a value-added proposition to becoming competitive . The report shows enrollment for all groups increased 18.9 percent from 2000 to 2011.

African-American Women

The percentage difference between African-American Women and the next closest group is striking and now marks the first time this group (or any other group) has surpassed Asian Males. Black Female College Enrollment at 9.7 percent is a full percentage point above the next group which represents an 11.5 percent enrollment rate above Asian Females. This statistic is equally impressive in that in one year, Black Females and Asian Females surpassed Asian Males as the leading group in College enrollment (U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey: October 2010.)

In 2010, the annual report listed Asian Males leading at 9.8 percent and Black Females a close second at 9.6 percent. Asian Females followed in third at 9.5 percent. At the time of this report, no immediate details were available to explain the 10.3 percent drop in Asian Males and the 11.5 percent drop in enrollment data for Asian Females.

African-American Men

African-American Men have also realized significant gains over the 2000-2011 year periods. From the same data series in 2000, the Black Male College Enrollment rate was 5.2 percent and as of 2011, the rate was measured at 7.0 percent, representing a 34.6 percent increase. This is also a first as there is no longer a significant statistical difference between Black Male College Enrollment and White Female (7.1 percent.) From the Department of Education, iPEDS data reporting set in the academic year 2010-2011 there were 1,444,979 Black Males in post-secondary degree granting institutions (US Only/non-duplicated)

So what does this mean?

Overall and despite the never-ending narrative around the social, economic and educational disparities African-Americans may face in these tough times; despite the systemic barriers and the proverbial deck of cards being stacked against a community, the data and evidence provides a ray of hope in a plethora oppositional to the negative imagery and information constantly describing  Black culture. The facts make a case counter-intuitive to what “common sense” tells us about African-Americans. Fortunately, this group of resilient and resourceful people, who have always valued education, are once again proving “good sense” trumps the commons.

01 Sep 2012

Watch Janks on Roland Martin’s Washington Watch!

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Check local listings for channel and time…on tvONE

16 Aug 2012

HOODWINKED THEATRICAL PREMIERE: PRESS RELEASE

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


August 5, 2012 – WASHINGTON DC MOVIE PREMIERE — IYAGO ENTERTAINMENT GROUP Presents HOODWINKED — An in depth exploration of how the over-exaggerated  negative depictions and statistics about African Americans has debilitating effects on Black Identity

PRODUCER/DIRECTOR Janks Morton’s Exploration of How African Americans Feel About Themselves and Their Portrayal in Society, Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 8:00pm/ET at Washington, DC’s Historic AVALON Theatre (WASHINGTON, DC)

iYAGO Entertainment Group is proud to announce the theatrical film premiere of HOODWINKED, Director Janks Morton’s sequel to the 2007 award-winning documentary WHAT BLACK MEN THINKon Thursday, September 6th, 2012 (8p ET), at the historic Avalon Theatre in Washington,DC. The retail release of HOODWINKED and the companion book BLACK PEOPLE DON’T READ will also be made available for purchase at Amazon.com on that same date.

HOODWINKED is a searing examination of the role that myths, stereotypes and misrepresentations have played in the lives of the modern era African American. HOODWINKED is an eye-opening look at the hyper-saturated negative racial statistics that promote the premise of Black Inferiority, and how organizations manipulate data and information for funding, and as money extracting propositions.

HOODWINKED explores how negative imagery in the media, deficit-model activism, and a community disillusioned and ill-informed about its own positive attributes has all led to a dangerous form of negative self and group perception about Black Achievements. The film features commentary and insights from key black leaders, activists and educators such as Dr. Steve Perry (CNN), Dr. Marc Lamont Hill(FOX & BET), Dr. Boyce Watkins, Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu and Dr. Ivory Toldson.

In a time when questions of race and racially motivated constructs constantly permeate the headlines,HOODWINKED explores the issues from the inside, offering a unique glimpse into the mindset of African Americans to reveal a powerful, enlightening, and empathetic portrait of a cultural heritage virtual stripped of its present-day greatness by a systematic and perpetual assault of negative information. HOODWINKED through the most current U.S. Census data and other government agencies sheds a shining light on the positive strides made by African Americans and then suggests we reconsider the many misconceptions so prevalent in the consciousness of all Americans.

HOODWINKED challenges many of the negative myths, assumptions and urban legends that have been too often linked with African American Identity. For example, “Are there more black men in jail or in college?” or “What percent of Black Boys drop out of High School?” Finally, HOODWINKED culminates with a bone chilling segment where an array of college aged African American Students are asked to “Name a positive stereotype about Black People.” The results are simply shocking as student by student struggles to associate a singular positive attribute of group worth to their own community.HOODWINKED gets to the bottom of many of these types of challenges and proposes vital solutions for people longing for answers to complex social issues. A variety of tough topics are explored that affect African Americans and perpetuate the diminishment of their contributions to American Society.

HOODWINKED. Documentary. 87 Minutes. NTSC. Not Rated.

MEDIA INQUIRIES: Nancie McPhail (202) 546-5400

SOURCE: iYAGO Entertainment Group

RSVP: www.HOODWINKED.Eventbrite.com

07 Aug 2012

10 DAYS OF BLACK TRUTHS

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If asked to NAME ONE POSITIVE STEREOTYPE ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE… could you?

VideoBuzz: We can start to change the conversation about what it means to be Black in America right here, right now, today! Through respective social networks we can spread the message the media denies.  Courtesy of DryerBuzz

You are what you are fed through media.  Lucky for us we have Janks Morton a Social, Political, and Spiritual Activist and creator of www.whatblackmenthink.com.  The video above relates to his latest film project Hoodwinked the much anticipated and long awaited sequel to 2007 Best African American Documentary WHAT BLACK MEN THINK


Order Your Copy Here!
For over four-hundred years, the majority white society has used many tools to reinforce a message that the peoples of African descent are less-than, not-equal-too or not-good enough. In this modern era of information, the media, government and special interests use statistics to further promote the message of Black inferiority. What troubles Janks Morton most, is that we as a people have internalized the misinformation, embraced the myths, and perpetuated the stereotypes, sadly reinforcing a collective misperception of our own identities.

Morton recently shared a closer look at states via the images below via facebook.  African Americans being visual people, the impact has been great.

From the Series:

10 DAYS OF BLACK TRUTHS:
We can start to change the conversation about what it means to be Black in America right here, right now, today! Through our respective social networks we can spread the message the media denies.

We Can No Longer Doubt Our Greatness!

Feel free to copy and share.

From the Filmmaker:

It is my sincere hope that the positive messaging around the amazing strides, specifically 18-24 year old African Americans are making, truly resonates with our community. For far too long, we have been pushed down to the point where, when asked to name one positive attribute (stereotype) about African Americans, I have seen a nation of people, young and old, rich and poor, educated and under-educated absolutely frozen in their hearts as what to say. Prayerfully, this series of Graphic, and the video series that will follow can start a new conversation, a new message for a people far removed from their greatness by the negative messaging all about them.

Mr. Morton is planning a college tour for the fall, you can make reservations for you university, church or community based group by clicking the graphic below:

Watch A web Exclusive 4 minute clip from the film HOODWINKED, and gain insights into how the screening and lecture presentation can positive impact your organization.

12 Jul 2012

POSITIVE BLACK MALE IMAGES

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PBMI

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21 Jun 2012

Dropout America: A Manufactured Crisis

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Special Interest Group overstates US Dropout Rates and misrepresents African American Male Achievements with PSA’s

I have been challenged numerous times as of late while discussing the Black Male Dropout rate of 9.5% in 2010 unveiled in my latest film titled “HOODWINKED”.  Most recently at a rooftop media affair in New York, several television producers cited specifically an ad campaign that I am oh too familiar with. The PSA’s are a series of commercial spots with the tagline: “every 26 seconds in the U.S., a high School student drops out.” This headline was the summary retort and rebuff statement of the night in an attempt to counter the much lower dropout rates I discuss.

The first time I saw the PSA for the “26 second”  campaign was during the 2012 NBA All-Star game. LeBron James was featured in the commercial and reiterates firmly the statistic that “every 26 seconds a kid drops out of High School.”  I think there is still a pizza stain on my plasma TV from my initial response. Why such an exacerbated reaction to what most assume and have adopted as the narrative about the “Dropout Crisis in America?” you may ask. Two fold is my answer, which I will explain seriatim.

First the commercial had an African-American Male sitting on a bed (during the middle of the day) falling through his mattress into a series of shadowy settings, descending into the predictable, deleterious and “dark” outcomes faced by those who have chosen to leave high school prematurely. The problem I have with this narrative is that the societal construct around dropouts has made young Black Males the poster child of this “Crisis”.

A quick search of the Department of Education: National Center for Education High School Dropout and Completion rates reveals the following (racial) state of dropouts and the face (if any) that should have been highlighted in these types of PSA’s. According to the Department of Education, that face is  definitely not young Black Males.

From the NCES Trends in High School Dropouts and Completion Rates: (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012006)

  • Of the 373,000 High School Dropouts in 2009 (Event Dropout – students enrolled 2008/absent 2009)

    • 160,000 were White (Non-Hispanic)

    • 114,000 were Hispanic

    • 77,000   were Black

  • Of the 3,030,000 persons between ages 16-24 without a High School Diploma or GED and not enrolled in High School (Status Dropouts/Total U.S. Dropouts)

    • 1,188,000 were White (Non-Hispanic)

    • 1,199,000 were Hispanic

    •   508,000 were Black

    • in 2006, 2007 and 2008 Black Females status dropout rate surpassed that of  Black Males

The follow up question when I present these statistics usually goes like “well aren’t African American Males disproportionately dropping out as compared to other ethnicities (or Black Males have the highest incidence of dropping out.) And while that lens gives me great pause and nocturnal reflux the percentages from the DOE still do not justify Black Males being the face of the “Dropout Crisis.”

  • Of the 373,000 High School Dropouts in 2009 (Event Dropout – started 2008/absent 2009)

    • 2.4% of all Whites Dropped out in 2009

    • 5.8% of all Hispanics Dropped out in 2009

    • 4.8% of all Blacks  Dropped out in 2009

From my research, there is an absolute disconnect between what the data states and the imagery and information we receive from special interests and media around Black Male Achievement. Of particular concern; with the advocacy of my films being “the castigation of Black Identity”, I hope you can appreciate my reservation about how negative messaging and misinformation has consequential effects on the self-perception of African Americans. The devaluation of status coupled with skewed perceptions of normative outcomes for young Black Males lowers the bar of expectations and blurs the lens on a community that has long been burdened by stereotypes, misrepresentations and inaccurate social marginalization.

Second, expanding on the point of misrepresentations, I have a larger concern around the statistical claims in the “26 second” PSA’s underwritten by State Farm and researched by The Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE). A cursory look into the AEE website finds the statement that “Every year, more than 1 million students—that’s 7,000 every school day—do not graduate from high school on time.”

Did You catch that last line? THEY DON’T GRADUATE ON TIME: So if they do not graduate on time, one should assume they are dropping out of high school, correct? Absolutely not. Herein lies the quandary and the subtle innuendo that has distorted the public perception and over dramatized the national dropout discussion. From the AEE’s own methodology they state “..to find the estimated number of students who did not graduate with the rest of their class. For the purpose of this analysis, the Alliance assumed these students to be dropouts from the Class of 2010” Remember the old adage about assuming…right?

Well I will leave you some closing bullet points of the AEE analysis of this “crisis” for you to research, digest and come to your own conclusions about the current state of High School Completions and Dropouts. With a concerted and well-informed populous, maybe next year we can curtail their attempt to interrupt my NBA all-Star game with another image distorting and data skewing PSA.

  • As reported by the Department of Education: National Center for Education Statistics ~ There is no data to support a claim that 1.3 million (AEE) students dropped out of High School in the calendar year 2010

    • The AEE took a longitudinal look at the four years of attendance for the class of 2010, found that 1.3 million did not graduate on time, assumed they were dropouts, and then left the analysis open for misinterpretation.

    • How the messaging is abbreviated, misinterpreted and finally misreported goes like this;

      • 1.3 million students did not graduate in four years or with their class

      • 1.3 million missing in the class of 2010

      • 1.3 million  dropouts in 2010 (flawed deduction)

      • that equals 7,000 dropouts per school day

      • that equals 1 dropout every 26 seconds

  • What the Dropout assumption in the AEE findings does not consider and leads to multiple errors in its conclusions are as follows:

    • Metropolitan Statistical Area and interstate  mobility of students between 9th and 12th grade. (students moving from one area to another during the four year period counts against graduation rates of the baseline school)

    • Grade Repetition Rates (students having to repeat a grade during the four year period counts against graduation rates).

Finally, take the Dropout Challenge yourself (from the film HOODWINKED, read the graphs and draw your own conclusions.

08 Aug 2011

THE FINAL SOLUTION?

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If I can convince you to buy into a problem, then you have to purchase my solution.
Janks Morton

At this point in my life, I have grown quite weary of the dysfunctional and symbiotic relationship between special interest, media and government. What I have found is that too often, especially as it relates to the African American community, stereotypes, mischaracterizations, hyperbole, myth, and just out right unsubstantiated claims are not only tolerated but often encouraged in our public discourse. Regardless of the mechanism that is utilized to launch this misinformation, mostly, unexamined claims about the status of blacks in this country woefully compound and exacerbate an all-ready debilitating, if not denigrating dialogue .

This past Sunday morning proved to be no different, as sadly, I saw the Wall Street Journal make its entree into the swirling cesspool of unverified, anecdotal and inflammatory assertions, as well as a retread postulate based on faulty analysis and the skewing of statistics. What was most disturbing was the author’s attempt to ratify a timorously inadequate social proposition with flawed logic and poor statistical interpretation.

In the article by Professor Ralph Richard Banks titled “An Interracial Fix for Black Marriage “ Prof. Banks’ states that “ the most unmarried group of people in the U.S.: black women. “ and “Black women confront the worst relationship market of any group…and they have needlessly worsened their situation by limiting themselves to black men.”

On the surface his claims may seem to be valid. Especially if we cross-pollinate his thesis with the statistics advanced by former stand-up comedian turned relationship guru Steve Harvey. In a national media campaign, Mr. Harvey claimed that 42% of African American women have never been married. Mr. Harvey, was fully endorsed by ABC News, Tyra Banks, Essence Magazine and The god-mother-of-them-all Oprah Winfrey. Subsequently, after a series of Townhall meetings, Radio and Television appearances, Mr. Harvey summarily outlines what he believes to be the underlying pathology and true causality of the plight of the unwed African American Woman. The African American Man.

In a similar narrative Prof. Banks’ article utilizes varied social, education and incarceration data to identify further the culprit in the dire quest for marriage of African-American women. Through his analysis, the responsibility rests squarely upon the shoulders of the unemployed, under-employed, overly-incarcerated, under-educated, immature, white woman lusting, secretly homosexual, emotionally unavailable on the verge of extinction African American Male. I may have taken some artistic license with the previous descript, however an examination of the commentary around this issue will validate my comments as a non-embellishment.

What I find most peculiar about this ongoing debate, was not once have I ever heard anyone mention through this national crisis of coupling, the one counter-balancing statistic from the same data set (American Community Survey: US Census Department-2007.)

HEADLINE: 44% of African American Males have never been married either. A statistic that if juxtaposed against Prof. Banks assertions, completely invalidates the proposition that African American women are the most unmarried group in this country. Moreover, this statistic opens up a more expansive conversation as to why are (blacks, if you must) and Americans marrying later and at lower rates than generations prior. But that conversation won’t get you a seat on any talk show or make your book a best-seller. I wonder if the Wall Street Journal still has an assignment desk dedicated to fact-checking?

Prof. Banks, as well as other social commentators, in their myopically skewed perspectives and continual “analysis” of modern-era black relationships, have found themselves a comfortable niche’ in the ongoing plight of African-American Women. An over-simplified and too oft quoted narrative, that in no way gives a fair representation of the African-American community. The Problem with Black Marriage is always African-American Men. A Narrow minded, divisive and over-generalizing ideologue; flawed in its inception. misleading at a minimum and malicious at its worst. So if Prof. Banks precursory presumptions are flawed(which an unbiased examination of the facts reveals), then I propose the solution Prof. Banks advances must be as equally flawed (if not preposterous).

“if more black women married non-black men, then more black men and women might, in time, marry each other”.

I would love to see the editorial response column to an article summarily recommending that Caucasian Women should consider marrying outside their race in order to address the declining marriage rates in the White community. As my grandfather use to say, “that dog don’t hunt”, and the backlash would be overwhelming. Unfortunately, this is the Black Community and media, government and Prof. Banks have been given latitude to propose any fool-hearty postulate because “we” are in such a “crisis”.

As a law professor I would expect Prof. Banks to know the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc. (after this therefore because of this) and to try to propose that increases in interracial marriage rates will in turn positively effect intraracial marriage rates is absurd . As an academic I would expect at least an opinion removed and more objective analysis of the social evidence. As a black man I would expect you to have an interest in providing viable solutions for a people desperately seeking answers. But in the end, maybe I expect too much.

Prof. Banks as well as others in this discussion are utilizing a biased methodology, to further launch an unfair and unrighteous smear upon black male identity, while simultaneously insulting the intellect of African American women. Prof. Banks is misusing partial information as an emotional appeal to Black women, manipulating a circumstance to capitalize on the fracture in modern-era black relationships. A fracture that has lead to ratings, print articles, Internet blogs, talk shows oh and Prof. Banks’ latest entry into this discourse. “Is Marriage for White People?” Published by Stanford Law School, due out in September. Another caretaker exploiting the misinformation, proposing the tag-line of a book as a solution, for the betterment of his checking account.

28 Jul 2011

I CAN’T GET MY HAIR WET

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While sitting and observing people at play at our local community swimming pool yesterday, I watched a disturbing process transpire involving of a young African American girl.  I had to watch how the contorted sociological characterization of race has  not only devastating social consequences, but  psychological and spiritual ramifications as well. However, what pained me most in watching her struggles was no child (or adult) should ever have to carry such a burden .During the lazy hot days of summer vacation,  the most difficult decision a child should ever have to make is “how much fun can I have today”

For the “diverse” readers of this article, especially my more conservative followers, you will probably be taken immediately aback by the mere mention of Pastor Jeremiah Wright. Seriously, I am oh too familiar with his condemnation of America from the pulpit, and I will probably be dismissed, decried or protested just on the mere mention of his name. Well, on this day and in this moment, because of the following sequence of events, I heard Jeremiah’s tirade in my head. I was hurt,and angry because a young black girl had exacted a self-imposed cultural isolation, and the only reason she did so was because she was “black”. What I would like to propose is that maybe a closer and more in-depth examination of a society that obsessively reinforces a message of race may ultimately be doing more harm than good while also giving me (short-term) license to explain why the Pastor’s words were ringing in my ears..

Let me try to make sense of all this for you. This sweet and charming young girl had to sit on the sidelines of our community pool on a beautiful summer afternoon and rationalize her inability to jump into the deep end. Defiantly, and with  grace she watched as all the other children from our community enjoyed a day of splashing, squirting, jumping, screaming, marco-poloing and rough-housing without a single care in the world. Our community is extremely diverse, Black, Hispanic, White, Middle eastern, and all were enjoying what is our local swimming hole. So why was this girl forced to sit on the perimeter as an observer you may ask? What did she do to deserve such a punishment? What transgression forced her to put on a dismissive mask while internally wanting nothing else than to join the other children? Most African American women know exactly were this is headed while my more “diverse” readers may be looking for some clarification.

Simply, this beautiful child’s egregious violation was this: The day prior she had spent 4 hours in a very hot “beauty” salon, getting her hair flat-ironed and pressed. And during an invitation from the other kids for her to jump in, she responded
“I can’t get my hair wet”

At this juncture I would strongly recommend viewing the documentary “Good Hair” by Chris Rock to make you current on the trials and tribulations African American women (and young girls) have to suffer in order to maintain differing  socially acceptable” hairstyles. Mr. Rock does a wonderful job of examining the historical, cultural and sociological impacts of “processed” vs. “natural hair. My intent in this article is to drive home the more psychological consequences and the detriment to our own sense of self-worth by trying to conform to a euro-construct of black racial identity. An identity that ultimately is still largely misunderstood, maligned and looked down upon by the larger society. And then I’ll try to explain why Jeremiah Wright reverberated in my amygdala..

In the artificial construct of race, varying groups are basically devolved to three superficial features, with very little regard for cultural and sociological identity. Mostly, if we define ourselves by “race”, we can be categorized either by skin color, facial features (lip thickness, nose width, eye folds) and lastly, hair texture. Our own perception of what is normative and acceptable from a societal definition, has led to a skin-whitening, nose slimming, hair-obliterating sub-culture in Black America in order to project what we perceive to be a standard of beauty. And according to Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa, in a Psychology Today (peer-reviewed) article, even with all of our efforts to assimilate, the author’s postulate “‘Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?’ actually was a plausible theorem in his circles, until catching the wrath of those he attempted to denigrate.

So back to our twelve-year-old and what does all this mean. About a go zillion dollars is spent annually to burn, lye, condition and some other techniques I am unfamiliar with, to make young black girls and black women’s hair fit into some whittled down narrative of what is pleasing, acceptable and respectable. Subtly and overtly the over arching message is that natural black hair is less attractive and undesirable. A message ultimately forcing this beautiful child to sit detached from the joys of her peers were enjoying. All because chlorine water would restore her hair to it’s natural, glorious and wavy beauty. All the while not to forget that she didn’t want to also stay in the sun all day and possibly get too dark. So she sat, and she watched the days festivities never fully being able to participate. (I could probably write a whole section here on complexion obsession, however I think filmmaker Bill Duke is about to explore that subject matter thoroughly)

As I watched the multi-cultural experience of all the children at my community pool, this African American girl’s situation began to infuriate me. What type of system deprives an entire race of their humanity, by trying to establish a sub-genus ratified by an obtuse biblical reference and bad eugenics based science to support the subjugation of an entire culture based on superficial features? What type of persons or principalities, would perpetuate an ideologue of inadequacy in order to assert a faux affirmation of their superiority and while advancing the concept of inferiority of all things not-of-their-race? What kind of sinister plot would advocate the distortion of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual experience of a peoples, in order to coerce them to integrate and assimilate into a culture? A culture that while professing  “equality for all”, continually reinforces a message encouraging groups to vie for racial superiority (Dr. Kanazawa is Asian).

Simply, a broken and fallen world system, designed to affirm the inadequate, dismiss the truth, and promote conflict amongst our humanity, further negating our ability to connect to each other as one race. The Human Race.

So I found Dr. Jeremiah Wright ringing in my ear, with a slight twist to the focal point of his tirade. While America has definitely played its part in the history of racial strife, I think it more appropriate to curse the source. That source which seeks to utilize any and all things wicked to distract us all from our access to the divine.

And that has nothing to do with race.

P.S., I think I forgot to mention that the twelve-year-old girl was my daughter…And as a non-residential parent, I wasn’t about to challenge this cultural ideologue with every woman in my daughter’s life by throwing her in the pool. I’m not that
crazy.

12 Jul 2011

Dr. Boyce, Michael Eric Dyson, Steve Perry, Marc Lamont Hill Sign on For New Film

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Dr. Boyce Watkins, along with other leading black male scholars have all agreed to take part in “Hoodwinked,” a documentary about the state of the black male in America.

According to the filmmaker, James “Janks” Morton, describes the film in the following way:

ARTICLE CONTINUES HERE:

01 Jun 2011

HOODWINKED

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One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him. – Booker T. Washington

For over four-hundred years, the majority white society has used many tools to reinforce a message that the peoples of African descent are less-than, not-equal-too or not-good enough. In this modern era of information, the media, government and special interests use statistics to further promote the message of Black inferiority. What troubles me most, is that we as a people have internalized the misinformation, embraced the myths, and perpetuated the stereotypes, sadly reinforcing a collective misperception of our own identities.

Travel to any Black-owned barbershop or beauty salon on a Saturday afternoon, and you will hear some of the most outlandish, unsubstantiated and unverifiable (statistical) claims about the state of today’s African-American Male. I sit in barber chairs across this country and hear “you know half of em’ been locked up, most of em’ dropped out of high school, and all of em’ are marrying white women.” I sit mostly in silence, because the truth about the great economic and educational strides of today’s Black Male usually starts an emotional and fiery debate. And mostly, the barbershop is a place where truth, statistics and evidence gets trumped by whoever shouts the loudest.

If I can give Black America one teachable lesson, it would be this “Never trust a man (or woman) who quotes a statistic that ends in either a five or a zero.” “25% of this, 50% of that, 75% of these” are usually opinion or conjecture, and seldom if ever valid. Fives and zeros are the numbers of men and are usually flawed (look at your fingers).

This “fives-and-zeros” rule is what led me to my initial research into carving out positive statistics about African-Americans in 2005. Former NPR correspondent Juan Williams in a debate with Dr. Michael Eric Dyson blurted out a statistic that 70% of African-American children were being born out-of-wedlock. Of course I cried foul, and headed to the census.gov to fact-check Mr. William’s claim.  That initial research is what has motivated me to look for positive data about Blacks, and attempt to offset the constant negative messaging etched into our minds. Be it graduation rates, enrollment rates, income or social data, I believe that in our hearts, we all need to hear more “good news” about Blacks in this country.

My research gave me insights as to how 21st century “information overload” can lead to all types of statistical confusion. Too often in our discourse we combine the economic, the educational, employment and social statistics to form a distorted perception of the modern-era African-American experience. Couple that with the constant bombardment by news outlets and entertainment media of the less-than-desirable Black behaviors; consequently you have a people who are ill equipped to stand confident in their own achievements.

Here’s a quick test of how we perceive ourselves – Excluding Athletics, Entertainment or Religion, name a positive stereotype about African Americans. I’ll wait…

Most African-Americans have a challenging, if not impossible time summarizing our collective experience into one positive statement of group-worth. Sadly if I were to ask you the same question about other racial groups, you would rattle off quickly “smart,” “hard-working,” “and “good with money.” This is a testament to how we have allowed Black identity to be twisted and maligned, while also adopting this societal defamation of character as our own belief set.

So with that, I believe that it is absolutely necessary for another message to be forwarded about what is means to be Black in America. WE can no longer depend on any organization, any government or any media outlet to shine the positive light of who WE are. WE can no longer afford to define ourselves by our shortcomings. WE have got to shout confidently, that WE are much more than the incarcerated, the uneducated, or the prime time buffoon.

My final challenge to you, as a Black American, would be this. If XYZ actor gets caught cheating on their spouse, you head right to the local internet search engine to fact-check the story. The Internet has become the great equalizer in this struggle, and your government has made most data freely accessible. The next time you hear any data or statistics about Blacks, anywhere, be just as diligent in your search to confirm or dismiss the story. Because, as I see it, the ratings, the notoriety, and the funding will always promote the negative statistics about Black Americans.

In closing, here are some verified African American Male statistics on education, economics and employment. Statistics you probably have never heard. Statistics I would challenge you to try discussing on your next visit to the local stylist, academic setting, or community activist meeting. What will sadden you most is to watch the debate, watch the resistance, and watch the denial from people who desire most to hold on to false claims about us… myths, stereotypes and misinformation that only perpetuates the denigration of us all.

·       There are more Black Males in College[1] than in Jails, Prisons, Private Corrections, Military Jails and Institutions for the Criminally Insane combined[2] (1,236,443 in College/841,000 Incarcerates – regardless of age)

·       4 to 1: The ratio of 18-24 year old Black Males in College[3] vs. Jails, Prisons, Private Corrections, Military Jails and Institutions for the Criminally Insane[4].

(674,000 in College/164,400 Incarcerates)

  • 32.3% (1 in 3) Black Males ages 18-24 are enrolled in College[5]

(674,000 in College/2,082,000 Total)

  • 1.37 to 1: The ratio of 18-24 year old Black Females enrolled in College to Black Males[6].

(930,000 Black Females Enrolled/674,000 Black Males Enrolled)

  • 6.3%: Black Males (age 18-55+) enroll in College at a higher rate by sex than White Males and Hispanic Males and are surpassed only by Asian Males[7].

(Black Males is 6.3%, White Males is 5.8%, Hispanic Males is 4.7%, and Asian Males is 9.7%)

  • 25.1% of Black Males (age 25 or over) have either an Associates, Bachelors, Masters, Professional, or Doctoral Degree[8].

(2,519,000 with Degrees/10,018,000 Total)

  • 82.1% of Black Males (age 18 or over) have at least a High School Diploma or GED[9] .

(9,897,000 with HS Diploma or GED/12,044,000 Total)

  • 12.1%:  The Black Male Dropout Rate[10] (ages 16-24) for 2008.

(301,000 Dropouts/2,583,000 Total)[11]

  • 5.1%: Percent of married Black Men who marry White Women[12]

(279,000 Black Husband-White Wife/5,654,000 Married Black Men)

  • 88.8%: Percent of Black Males earning income[13] ages 25-64 (employment)

(7,899,000 Employed/8,893,000 Total)

  • $23,738: Average Income for Black Males[14] 15 and older

$19,470 Average Income Black Females

  • 1,812,000 The number of Black Men making $50,000/year or more[15]
  • 71.6% of Black Men pay their agreed to or Court Awarded Child Support[16]

(855,000 Payers/1,194,000 Recipients)

  • $253 Billion: Total Income earned by Black Males[17] (15 and over)

($262 Billion earned by Black Females)

  • 13,104,000 Total Black Men age 15 or over[18]

(15,816,000 Total Black Females age 15 or over)


[1] National Center for Education Statistics: iPeds data set, March 2011 – reporting Scholastic Year 2009

[2] Bureau of Justice Statistics: Prison and Inmates at Midyear 2009 – June 2010)

[3] US Census Bureau: American Community Survey: Table 1.  Enrollment Status of the Population 3 Years Old and Over, by Sex, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, Foreign Born, and Foreign-Born Parentage:  October 2009

[4] Bureau of Justice Statistics: Prison and Inmates at Midyear 2009 – June 2010

[5] US Census Bureau: American Community Survey: Table 1.  Enrollment Status of the Population 3 Years Old and Over, by Sex, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, Foreign Born, and Foreign-Born Parentage:  October 2009

[6] US Census Bureau: American Community Survey: Table 1.  Enrollment Status of the Population 3 Years Old and Over, by Sex, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, Foreign Born, and Foreign-Born Parentage:  October 2009

[7] US Census Bureau: American Community Survey: Table 1.  Enrollment Status of the Population 3 Years Old and Over, by Sex, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, Foreign Born, and Foreign-Born Parentage:  October 2009

[8] U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2009 Annual Social and Economic Supplement

[9] U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2009 Annual Social and Economic Supplement

[10] National Center for Education Statistics: Table A-19-2.  Number of status dropouts and status dropout rates of 16-through 24-year-olds – American Community Survey (ACS) 2008)

[11] 2,583,000 includes individuals reporting Black A.O.I.C. US Census data are individuals reporting Black Alone

[12] U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Social and Economic Supplement: 2003 Current Population Survey, Current Population Reports, Series P20-553, “America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2003″ and earlier reports.

[13] U.S. Census Bureau, PINC-01. Selected Characteristics of People 15 Years Old and Over by Total Money Income in 2009, Work Experience in 2009, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex

[14] U.S. Census Bureau, PINC-01. Selected Characteristics of People 15 Years Old and Over by Total Money Income in 2009, Work Experience in 2009, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex

[15] U.S. Census Bureau, PINC-05. Work Experience in 2009–People 15 Years Old and Over by Total Money Earnings in 2009, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex

[16] U.S. Census Bureau, Child Support Payments Agreed to or Awarded Custodial Parents by Selected Characteristics and Sex: 2007

[17] U.S. Census Bureau, PINC-08. Source of Income in 2009-People 15 Years Old and Over, By Income of Specified Type in 2009, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex

[18] U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2009.

About the Author:  JANKS MORTON is the founder of iYAGO ENTERTAINMENT GROUP, LLC, a multimedia production company. He states “the company came into existence to reflect both the consciousness and the unconsciousness soul of Black America.  Janks is an award winning filmmaker who shook up the world with his movie “What Black Men Think.” He’s also the author of the book, “Why He Hates You.”  Janks has been in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years