You’re defenceless if you own a weapon and you don’t know how to use it. An education is retention of information not ownership of a degree.”
There is a theory that says, people with less education tend to think higher of themselves than those with more education, thus avoiding the need for educating themselves. Now that is dangerous!
-Professor Devin Robinson
In the 1800s, with brutal force slavery robbed Africa of some of its healthiest and productive. It did cost the slave masters to purchase and ship their human cargoes. Today and nearing 100 years after African independence, there is a twist. Africans, including intellectuals, voluntarily ship themselves on economic slavery to Europe and America – all expenses paid by self. Amazing! isn’t it?
Dr Israel Nonyerem Davidson
Press TV documentary
A couple of days ago, I watched a documentary put together by Lisa Islam and aired on Press TV. The documentary explored the much overdue and soul searching question – “why do Blacks lead in every negative area of life in America?” It reduces me to tears as, in my mind, I project the depth and breadth of the question beyond the shores of America to read – “why do Blacks lead in every negative area of life in Africa, Europe and America?” It reminds me of a similar question, about a year ago, by a good friend of mine from Oman. He says to me, Nonyerem, are you aware of two disturbing examples often used to ridicule the black race? – Haiti, is close to the most powerful/prosperous nation on earth, the United States of America, and despite proximity to this great seat of power and progress, Haiti ranks and sets a record as the poorest country on earth next door to a great nation. Secondly, Nigeria is one of the most blessed nations of mother earth, and yet ranks among countries with lowest human development index in the world, he laments. What is wrong with your race?
Dr Marin Luther King once said:
Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it political? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, nor popular – but one must take it simply because it is right.”
As politically incorrect as it may sound, it is right that we examine why Black people have remained at the bottom of the ladder of progress while other races, like Indians and Chinese (once colonised, dominated, or marginalised), have broken free from the chains that once held them bound. It is right that we explore why, even in this time of Arab/European/American revolutions, Black people have maintained their comfort zones, and remain even more disunited – tribally, religiously, and regionally in the face of numerous challenges that question/threaten their existence. As controversial as it may be portrayed, it is Godly, right, and about time we attempt to determine why Blacks lack the depth of love for own kind in comparison to other races. As uncomfortable as it may sound to some, it’s time someone gets Africans upset and mad enough to take a closer look at their circumstances and have the gut to say No! No! No! to all forms of domination – colonial, tribal, religious or dictatorial. It is time we reclaim Africa, our dignity, our governments and our freedom. It is time and right that we set a road map for greater, productive, and respected generations to come – hence this two part article dealing with the challenges facing the black race and the way forward . Lets examine some threatening facts about the Black race today:
Inside United States and United Kingdom
Let me start this review with America and UK, the lands that have delivered opportunities to many races and the architects of slavery/colonization. In the United States of America, “more African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began” (Michelle Alexander – laprogressive.com). The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that as of 2008, there were more than 846,000 black men in prison, making up 40.2% of all inmates in the system. Of all African-American men that were born in 1965 or later, with less than a high school diploma, 60% have a prison record. Consequently, a great many Black men are disenfranchised, said Alexander — prevented because of their felony convictions from voting and from living in public housing, discriminated in hiring, excluded from juries, and denied educational opportunities” (see Video 1). In a review of his book “Blacks: From the Plantation to the Prison”, Prof. Robinson notes:
Presently Blacks make up 40% of the U.S. prison population, while we only occupy 12% of the U.S. total population. Blacks went from building America’s economic system as slaves and now we find ourselves still contributing to the economic system as inmates. Today, some persons focus so much on the 400 years of progress Blacks lost during the oppression of slaves, that we are not realizing that more years are being lost on the front end. A 2005 prison statistics showed that the black male prison population was collectively serving over 15,000,000 years in prison. The belief is we are not only 400 years behind, we are 15,000,400 years behind and counting. Many of us are still “plantation minded” causing us to become “prison inmates.”
Black imprisonment in USA
Until recently in America, welfare was a constitutional right. The consequence was that to Black women, government/welfare dependency became more attractive than husband. The result – illegitimacy increased from 23.6% in 1963 to nearly 70% of all Black children today in America; a situation that is almost repeating itself today among Black women in UK, with an increasing number of Nigerian women abandoning their husbands on arriving UK in favour of the welfare state. Research shows that in Britain, 57% (single mothers) choose the single life because they perceive it to be more rewarding (MailOnline, 2010). Almost half the black children in Britain are being raised by single (lone) parents, new Government figures shows (Office of National Statistics). A lone, single or one parent is defined as:
A mother or father living without a spouse (and not cohabiting) with his or her never-married dependent child or children aged either under 16 or from 16 to 19 and undertaking full-time education.’
There is an estimated 1.7 million single or lone parent families in United Kingdom out of which 11% are from Black or ethnic minority communities. 48 – 59% of Black Caribbean families have one parent. African families are catching up at 36%. Nine out of ten single-parent families are headed by mothers. Single-parent families are less common among Indians, Chinese, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, and even among whites (22%). “Children who grow up without their biological father are more likely to be unemployed, commit crime and leave education early, according to research by think tank Civitas” (Metro). In 2003, around one in six inmates in Britain’s prisons was Afro-Caribbean – despite making up only 2% of the country’s population; meaning twice as many black people in prison than in university (Polly Curtis, theGuardian). Black female prisoners make 26.4% of female prisoners while black males account for 24% of male prisoners in UK (Ruth Chigwada-Bailey, Consultant Criminologist, 2003).
Fifty-seven percent of black pregnancies in some cities in USA end in abortion, according to 2009 data from the Department of Health, leading to a controversial advert in America that read “The Most Dangerous Place for an African-American is in the Womb. For white women, the number is 20 percent” (wnyc.org). Since 1981, abortion in the Black community of USA is 12 million babies (Video 2). Such troubling statistics as these, have not escaped the attention of prominent black personalities like Mr Bill Cosby. In a speech he gave at the 50th commemoration of Brown vs Board of Education, focusing on America, he said:
…Therefore, you have the pile up of these sweet beautiful things (i.e. black kids) born by nature raised by no one…Basketball players, multimillionaires can’t write a paragraph. Football players, multimillionaires, can’t read. Yes. Multimillionaires. …The white man, he’s laughing, got to be laughing. 50% drop out, rest of them in prison”.
Black community has the highest abortion rate in USA
A research by Waldo E. Johnson Jr., Associate Professor at SSA, made the following revelations about black kids in America:
- “Black male youths are likely to grow up in single-parent homes. The boys often don’t have fathers residing in the home to serve as role models. Without paternal involvement, boys are more likely to develop ideas about what it means to be a man based on negative media portrayals and depictions, which leads them to be emotionally uninvolved and apprehensive.
- Black males, even as boys, are more likely than other male peers to suffer from stress-induced depression and other physical and mental health problems that may result in homicidal and suicidal behaviors as they mature. Their health problems continue throughout their lives with higher incidences of depression, high blood pressure, heart problems and prostrate cancer. African-American men have a life expectancy similar to that of men in developing countries.
- Black boys are more likely to experience difficulty in school and are less likely to graduate than any other group.
- African-American males have longer periods of joblessness and lower salaries due to underemployment than men from other demographic groups” (scienceblog.com)