Chancellor James Ammons from North Carolina Central University has issued a call to action to Black America.
The Durham Herald-Sun printed this article highlighting Ammons’ keynote address at a conference on black men in higher education. As mentioned in the article, this conference was cosponsored by NCCU, as well as the N.C. Community College System and the 12 colleges and universities, including NCCU, of the Historically Minority Colleges and Universities Consortium of North Carolina.
The article also provided some striking statistics presented by Ammons:
— In 1980, black men in college outnumbered those in prison 3 to 1. Now, for every black man getting a college degree, 240 enter the penal system.
— During the last decade, six black men entered prison for every one who entered college.
— Black children, although less than 20 percent of school enrollment, are 32 percent of those suspended from school and half of those in special education. Eighty percent of those black students in special education are male.
And so it seems that America, not just Black America has work to do. Educators, in their preparatory programs need to be taught about social and cultural differences that might incline them to indicate that a child needs to receive special education services. We must continue to be positive role models and to fight for the promotion of positive role models in our local communities, not just those that are consistently hyped up by the media (namely, BET and MTV). While I am torn between deciding whether the purpose of prison is for punishment or rehabilitation, I do believe that we must provide some sort of educational training and counseling for those in prison, especially those who shall be released back into society, to promote their successful re-integration into the outside world.
It may be true that our young black men are dying/going to jail/selling drugs/not going to college. But the real question is if we care enough to do anything about it.