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How Many Black Men Are Missing In America?

Photo credit: Flickr user Thomas Hawk

Photo credit: Flickr user Thomas Hawk

How Many Black Men Are Missing In America?

Words: Ashley Poag

The New York Times puts a shocking number to how many black men have disappeared from society.

We knew, but we didn’t know. In the era where hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter and #Justicefor [insert slain, unarmed victim’s name] exist, we’re all too familiar with the precarious nature of being a black man in America. But the New York Times put a number to the loss of black men’s lives that we’re still trying to wrap our heads around.

According to the New York Time’s UpShot blog, there are 1.5 Million black men missing in America.

1.5 million.

And where are these black men during the prime of their life? Dead or incarcerated. The United States has the highest incarcerated population among developed countries, and black men are six times more likely than white men to be imprisoned. In addition to that, the leading cause of death among black men is homicide. (Black men are 21 more times likely to be killed by the very people responsible for protecting them.)

According to the New York Times data, cities with a high population of African Americans have a large number of missing black men. The city with the largest proportion of missing black men to black women was Ferguson, Missouri with 40 missing black men for every 100 black women. North Charleston, South Carolina has a gap larger than 75 percent of American cities with 25 black men missing for every 100 black women. (These locations’ significance aren’t lost on us.) On average, for every 100 black women not in jail, there are only 83 black men. There’s only one missing white man for every 100 white women.

Perhaps the most upsetting fact is that these gaps don’t exist at birth. Black and white Americans start out on pretty equal playing fields; it’s around the teenage years that the number of black men begin to drop out of society, and continues through adulthood.

The systematic disappearance of black men from American society resembles a sort of generational genocide.  But, as the article points out, the issues are much more complicated. Be sure to read more of the report and learn about how you can help end mass incarceration in this country.

 

What do you think needs to be done to keep black men from going “missing”? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

 

Ashley Poag is mater mea’s intern and an aspiring multimedia journalist.