Recently, I have had the opportunity to gain a first-hand account of how many African American males are in prison. Sadly, I left with the impression that majority of our African American males are incarcerated. However the “Cellblock vs. College” article explains that my outlook may actually be a myth. http://www.howard.edu/schooleducation/Research_Spotlight/RS2.html
Toldson and Morton, authors of this article, report that there are approximately 395,443 more African American males in college than in prison. Interesting? Yes, indeed. This myth that there are more African American males in prison has become so stereotypical that people have actually begun to believe it as factual.
So you must ask yourself, what factual information confirms Toldson and Morton’s notion that there are more African American males in college than prison.
- In 2010 reports showed that 1,236,443 African American men were enrolled in college versus the 841, 000 serving time.
- The institutions of higher education where African American males are enrolled in high percentages include: University of Phoenix-Online Campus, Strayer University, Central Texas College, Miami Dade College, University of Maryland – University College, FAMU, N.C. A & T, Troy University (AL), Texas Southern, CUNY New York City College of Technology, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Prairie View A & M (TX), Jackson State (MS), Southern University and A & M College , Morgan State University , Excelsoir College, Columbia College, Morehouse College, Liberty University, Howard University, Saint Leo University, Park University, Webster University, Nova Southeastern University, Hampton University and Harvard University. (HBCUs are highlighted)
- In 2009 African American males represent 40% of the total male population incarcerated compared to 45% in 2000.
- U. S. Census reports there’s approximately 17,945,068 African American males
- 6.3 % of African American male are in college
- 4.7% of African American males are in prison
Now that you’ve seen these figures, are you encouraged to concede the myth that there are more African American males in prison than college? If so, how would you do that? Will you encourage an African American male or yourself (if you are an African American male) to attend and complete college and continue to challenge these numbers? Will you serve as a mentor to a young brother with hopes of obtaining a higher education but has no support? Or will you help our African American brothers in prison obtain the resources needed once they’ve completed their time to obtain an education?
I believe Oprah Winfrey said it best in her donation to the Men of Morehouse… “When you empower a black man, you light up the world. When you empower a black man, you empower families. You empower his wife. You empower sons. You empower daughters … You light up the world.”
Who will you empower?