Panel Researches Black Males’ Status

Sarah Chacko, The Advocate (Baton Rouge), March 6, 2009

More black males in Louisiana are incarcerated or fall victim to homicide than white males, officials with an educational research center said Thursday.

And the amounts by which black males surpass their white counterparts in those and other unfavorable areas are drastic enough to warrant special attention, said state Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans.

“African-American males are last in just about every category that measures the ability for success,” Richmond said.

The Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, which met Thursday at the State Capitol, plans to release a preliminary report June 1 on how black males in Louisiana are currently faring. {snip}

Among children, the percentage of black males in poverty is three times that of white males, said Bobbie DeCuir, a project director at the Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning.

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Homicide is the leading cause of death for black males ages 15 to 34, said Gail Bonhomme, also a project director at the Picard Center.

And for every one white male age 19 to 44 that is incarcerated, about four black males of that age are incarcerated, she said.

Picard Center officials presented those and other statistics, taken from the National Center for Health Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau and compiled by LSU demographer Troy Blanchard, to the council.

{snip}

Those statistics were not surprising to council members, the majority of whom are black males themselves. But the figures evoked words like “sobering,” “depressing” and “stark” from the panel Thursday.

{snip}

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