Feature

The plight of the black male

In his second term, President Obama cannot continue to ignore “the single greatest threat to the unity of America.”

Michael GersonThe Washington Post

In his second term, President Obama cannot continue to ignore “the single greatest threat to the unity of America,” said Michael Gerson. It’s “the vast, increasing segregation of young, African-American men and boys from the promise of their country.” More than 50 percent of urban black teenagers drop out of high school, and unemployment rates among young black males are staggering; one in three wind up in jail at some point in their life. This dysfunction is being perpetuated in another generation, with just 37 percent of black children raised in two-parent families. Social scientists list many causes: persistent racism, lousy schools, “the growth of an ‘oppositional culture’ that undermines achievement.” Yet there’s absolutely no “national urgency” about this ongoing American tragedy. That’s an indictment of everyone, including liberals, who once cared about “something more than the marginal tax rates and the interests of the middle class.” Obama is uniquely qualified to lead on this issue, and it should be at the top of his second-term agenda.

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