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Issues And Challenges African American Communities are Facing

While the Civil Rights Movement did much to change the racial landscape

of America, it remains scarred by the legacy of decades of inequality and

injustice. Though African Americans make up just 13 percent of the population

of the United States, they comprise the overwhelming majority of those

incarcerated and murdered, along with suffering from the highest school dropout

rates, the most fatherless homes, drug addiction issues, sexually transmitted

diseases, high unemployment rates, and poverty.

While recent events, such as the killing of Trayvon Martin, have brought

attention to the deep bias against African Americans that exists within the

criminal justice system—there are more black people in incarceration today than

there were enslaved in 1850, and many of them are non-violent offenders—the

host of issues which plague the black community and form the root causes of

this cycle of poverty and crime remain largely unexamined and unaddressed.

This is not due to a lack of attentiveness or willingness on the part of

African Americans, many of whom are profoundly concerned about the current

state of racial injustice in America. However, the present confluence of

disadvantages, outlined below, make it difficult for many members of the black

community to make themselves heard and action change.

Economic Isolation And Unemployment

Many African Americans live in areas of incredibly poor infrastructure,

particularly rural towns in the deep South and inner-city ghettos which have

been largely abandoned by officials. Those in rural areas have extremely limited

employment opportunities due to isolation and the decline of the family farm (the

prior backbone of both black and white rural communities), and those in urban

areas have been hardest hit by the loss of manufacturing jobs in once-bustling

industrial cities like Detroit, Michigan. These issues are compounded by poor

access to quality education, which has made it all but impossible for many

African Americans to enter the professional sphere. Today, the unemployment

rate for African Americans is 10.4 percent, vs. the 4.7 percent unemployment

rate experienced by white Americans.

High Rates of Violence

Where hopelessness and a lack of economic prospects exist, anger and

criminal activity soon follows; today, black Americans are killed at 12 times the

rate of people in other developed nations. The lack of economic opportunities

available to African Americans forces many young black people to make a living

by any means possible, and they thus turn to drug dealing and prostitution in

order to get by, fuelling these disproportionate rates of violence.

Not only is this profoundly tragic and disheartening to black communities,

many of the victims of this violence are young black males, meaning that this

violence directly contributes to the high rates of fatherlessness experienced by

African American families.

Negative Stereotyping in the Media

Many Americans are shocked to learn that African American men are the

primary victims of violent crime across the nation, as the media has so

thoroughly portrayed them as instead being the perpetrators. In fact, a recent

study by Color of Change revealed that, while just 51% of the people arrested

for violent crime in New York City are African American, 75% of the news

reports about such arrests focused on black perpetrators.

This media bias does not merely affect how white Americans view people

of color; according to the Harvard Implicit-Association Test, 48 percent of

African Americans also have implicit racial bias against black people due to

stigmatization in the media. This further fractures and divides black

communities, seeding an attitude of suspicion and fear which makes it difficult to

come together and tackle racial injustice.

Fractured Black Families and Communities

With so many African American fathers slain or pulled away from their

families through the perils of crime, incarceration, and addiction, and so many

African American mothers forced to work extremely long hours (often very far

from home), many black children are left almost entirely without parental

guidance. Likewise, when mothers are unable to find employment, fathers must

often leave the family home in order for them to qualify for welfare aid.

Generations of these issues have eroded the support networks that should

form the bedrock of black communities; where there are fewer parents present,

there are fewer grandparents available to aid the next generation, fewer aunts

and uncles, and so on (a reality exacerbated by the many health issues that

African Americans face due to poor nutrition, which cut lifespans unnaturally


Failing Schools

The public education system has so completely failed African Americans

that many children who strongly wish to learn are not even equipped with the

basic tools and supplies they need to do so (e.g. pens and pencils, paper,

computers and printers). Not only does this cause nearly half of all African

American students to drop out before completing high school, those who do

manage to weather the system hardly benefit from it; just 11 percent of black

males who leave a New York City high school with a diploma are adequately

prepared for college.

This lack of access to a quality education has dire implications; even if a

black youth manages to survive the high rates of violence, drug abuse, and

familial issues which plague African American communities, he or she has very

little hope of escaping the cycle of poverty within them.

Without an adequate education, meaningful employment—already in itself

scarce—is placed out of reach. Without meaningful employment, African

Americans are unable to escape communities broken by crime, violence, and

inadequate infrastructure, unable to provide for their children and form cohesive

family units, and ultimately unable to prosper and fight back against the many

challenges and injustices they face. For African Americans, knowledge truly is

power—and access to it is essential to creating positive change. is an endeavour of best thought and industry leaders who bring years of experience from wide range of fields.


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