1.5 Million Reasons You’re Single…The Shortage of Black Men Is Real

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This isn’t really news. The Single Black Woman is omnipresent in Black popular culture, from Tyler Perry screenplays to prime time television, this contemporary stock character can do anything she puts her mind to, except find a decent  date.

Of course, there’s the understanding that her single status comes from a shortage of Black men, a phenomena that has been presented, recycled, and repackaged by news outlets and Hollywood machines more times than anyone cares to count.

It’s exhausting. Infuriating even. But it’s true.

The  New York Times  recently ran an article titled: 1.5 Million Missing Black Men.

These men are not John Doe, but they are missing in action, absent from society due to early death or incarceration. According to the report one out of every six black men who today should be between 25 and 54 years old have disappeared from daily life.

The numbers are staggering.

 

Writes the Times:

Remarkably, black women who are 25 to 54 and not in jail outnumber black men in that category by 1.5 million, according to an Upshot analysis. For every 100 black women in this age group living outside of jail, there are only 83 black men. Among whites, the equivalent number is 99, nearly parity.

The resulting gender gap is more than a romantic inconvenience. It is wreaking havoc on Black families, Black wealth creation, and even Black health.

Some other surprising notes from the report:

  • Ferguson, Missouri has the largest share of “missing Black men” with just 60 men for every 100 Black women aged 25-54.
  • New York City has the largest number of “missing Black men” with 118,000. Chicago and Philadelphia come in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
  • In spite of a slight downturn in the incarceration rates, the Black prison population is still abominable. Almost 1 in 12 Black men 25-54 are incarcerated, compared to 1 in 60 non-Black men, 1 in 200 Black women, and 1 in 500 non black women.
An aside, HIV prevalence in US prisons are 4 times that of the normal population, so discriminatory incarceration patterns are also contributing to  high HIV infection rates in the African-American community.
Researchers say high incarceration rates increase risk behaviors associated with H.I.V. by skewing the ratio of women to men, worsening economic conditions and increasing the social capital of men who are not imprisoned.
These days, amidst a seemingly unending fusillade of racially motivated police attacks, the fragility of Black life is all the more apparent. There is a glimmer of hope that the fledgling bipartisan movement to correct drug sentencing laws for non-violent offenders will put a dent in massive Black incarceration rates, but even that would only begin to address the multiple layers of oppression that have long afflicted the Black community.

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