Monday, April 16, 2007


Report: Black Men Mired In Social Crisis
NEW YORK, April 16, 2007(AP) Citing bleak data on incarceration, joblessness and AIDS, the National Urban League said Monday that problems facing black men represent America's most serious social crisis and proposed an aggressive campaign to provide them with more opportunities.

The 97-year-old black empowerment organization, in its annual "State of Black America" report, called for universal early-childhood education, more second-chance programs for school dropouts and ex-offenders, and expanded use of all-male schools emphasizing mentoring and longer class hours.

"Empowering black men to reach their full potential is the most serious economic and civil rights challenge we face today," said Urban League President Marc H. Morial. "Ensuring their future is critical, not just for the African-American community, but for the prosperity, health and well-being of the entire American family."

According to the report, African-American men are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as white males while earning 74 percent as much per year. They are nearly seven times more likely to be incarcerated, with average jail sentences about 10 months longer than those of white men, the report said.

In addition, it said, black males between 15 and 34 are nine times more likely to be killed by firearms and nearly eight times as likely to suffer from AIDS.

"I could rattle off the names of African-American men who have overcome the odds and have risen to national prominence," Morial said. "But for all the Barack Obamas, Tony Dungys and Colin Powells out there ... there are many more black men who face very limited opportunities and diminished expectations."

"It's not enough to have role models to give them hope," he added. "We need a public commitment in the form of concrete policy strategies to help lift them out of their state of underachievement and put them on equal footing with white men in this nation."

Obama, the Illinois senator who is a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, wrote the report's foreword.

"The crisis of the black male is our crisis," he wrote. "It is in our shared interest and in the interest of every American to stop ignoring these challenges and start finding the solutions that will work."

On several key measurements, the report found greater disparities between black and white men than between black and white women.

For example, it said unemployment for black men was 9.5 percent, compared to 4 percent for white men, while the jobless rate for black women was 8.5 percent, compared to 4.1 percent for white women.

In terms of annual median income, black men earned less than 75 percent of what white men did, $34,443 vs. $46,807. Black women made 87 percent of what white women made even though they earned $5,000 less than black men — $29,588 a year.

The report did highlight a few bright spots for blacks of both genders, for example in the improved readiness level of children entering elementary school.

However, the report cited a widening gap after elementary school as blacks begin to fall behind on standardized tests. In fourth grade, the report said, blacks perform at a level of 87 percent of whites; by the time they reach 12th grade, their scores are at 74 percent of whites.

By high school, blacks are more likely to drop out — 15 percent compared to 12 percent for whites. For black males, the percentage rises to 18 percent compared to 14 percent of white males, the report said.

In an essay accompanying the report, University of California, Berkeley, lecturer Christopher Knaus said the rising emphasis on standardized testing would not yield major improvements as long as heavily minority schools had the least experienced teachers and highest faculty turnover.

"The curricula in most public schools also fails to adequately engage black students," Knaus wrote. "Disinterested students who are labeled as problems or disruptive often become the victims of 'zero tolerance' policies. ... contributing to the school-to-prison pipeline, especially among black males."

The report suggested that all-male schools with a strong emphasis on mentoring could help keep black boys "focused on their education and away from distractions that could lead them down the wrong paths."

The Urban League also recommended increased federal support for a summer jobs program in cities nationwide, and stressed that any overall progress will need a boost from parents.

"They must continually talk to their children about how much better off they will be by graduating from high school and college," it said.

For more information visit the National Urban League Web site at

© MMVII The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Islamic Fascism

Pearl honored with Holocaust victims
MIAMI BEACH (AP) — Daniel Pearl was added to the 30,000 names etched on the Holocaust Memorial Wall here on Sunday to honor the American journalist who was abducted and killed by terrorists in 2002.

Although Pearl's death and the Jews of the Holocaust were executed by people of different faith, language and agendas, there is a common thread of hatred, his father Judea Pearl told a crowd of hundreds as his son's name was unveiled as the first non-Holocaust victim to be remembered at the wall in Miami Beach.

"The forces of barbarity and evil are still active in our world. The Holocaust didn't finish in 1945," Judea Pearl said.

Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal's South Asia bureau chief, was abducted Jan. 23, 2002, while working on a story about Islamic militants in Karachi, Pakistan.

Four days later, the Journal and other media outlets received pictures of Pearl with a pistol to his head. A group calling itself the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and demanded that suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters be released from U.S. custody.

The journalist's body was found months later in a shallow ditch in a compound on the outskirts of Karachi. His throat had been slit.

Three Islamic militants are serving life sentences in Pakistan for the killing; a fourth was sentenced to death. A Pentagon transcript released last month revealed that suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to personally beheading Pearl, among several attacks and plots he took credit for.

During the ceremony, famed violinist Ida Haendel played a song as Judea Pearl lit a candle.

He said he would always think of his son, a classically trained violinist, as "the journalist who is roaming the roads with a fiddle and a laptop spreading friendship and goodwill into the human faces behind the news."

Daniel Pearl's last words, "I am Jewish," are the title of a book his parents wrote in 2004. A movie starring Angelina Jolie based on the memoirs of Pearl's widow, Mariane, is scheduled to be released this year.

Daniel Pearl's parents also started a foundation that bears his name and aims to eradicate hatred.

"We have a unique weapon — the legacy of a person that earned respect on the east, west divide so we feel compelled to use that legacy as much as we can."

Members of Temple Emanu-El also lit candles and sang in honor of other survivors during the ceremony. Miami-Dade County is home to nearly 3,800 Holocaust survivors, according to the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.
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