Chicago is the third most-populous city in the U.S. At the advent of the 20th century major cities throughout the United States, like Chicago, New York, Detroit, and Philadelphia to name a few, received a large influx of African Americans migrating from the South as well. African Americans comprise 36.77 % of Chicago’s 2.8 million plus population with African American male constituting 13%. Race and racism has and to this day remains an indicative dynamic through which African American community; in particular the male, must be examined.
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Examining various status indicators throughout the last decades, the current state of African Americans should be mentioned. As of 2006 the poverty rates for African Americans are shown to be of 28%, where for wage disparities, “Full-time, year-round African American males earn 72 cents on the dollar of full-time, year-round white non-Hispanic males. As for school education, “African Americans account for over half of CPS students; they make up only 29 percent of those in competitive schools, down from 37 percent in 1995.”(DGAP, 2008).
Assessing the average income of Black population in general, it can be seen that there is slight increase through the last three decades, where it was $25,642 in 1985, $28,485 in 1995 and $31,969 in 2006 (“Distribution of Household Income by Race,” 2006).
Concerning the comparison in education, based on African-American Initiative executive summary, “at no other time in American history has there been more African Americans graduating from college, earning middle class and upper middle-class incomes and owning their own businesses.”(United Way, 2005). However, the statistics are still showing a wide gap, especially concerning the subject of this paper, where 62% of Chicago’s African American males drop out of high school, 50% of African American males between the ages of 16 and 22 are out of work and not in school, and 87 % of juvenile parolees are African-American males (United Way, 2005). Assessing the black population in general, the statistics are showing a great need of further examination, where
The level of violence and incarceration in the eighties has witnessed a large increase by a ‘staggering’ 39 percent where the levels of homicide in cities such as Chicago showed increase in excess of 20 percent. (Booker, 2000, p. 209) “In 1960, there were 149 Black men per 100,000 population incarcerated–by 2006, this number had increased more than fourfold to 825” (Stevans, 2007). In 1999, 57% of 21,022 persons arrested were Black men. 60% were under the age of 30. According to the Chicago Department of Public Health “Black males accounted for the largest number of diagnosed HIV infections and have the highest HIV infection rate of any race/ethnicity group”.
The comparison shows that despite a slight increase in the area of education and income, the statistics are still low. In the subject of violence and incarceration the situation is also unfavorable. The social protection infrastructure has been destroyed thereby creating a violent and unhealthy environment. African American males in large cities like Chicago are at the forefront of such a cataclysmic spiral. As stated in State of Emergency by Jawanza Kunjufu, the status of African American male is in need to be saved spiritually, physically, educationally and economically (Kunjufu, 2001).