African-American plight in focus... and in question

The New York Times came out with an article last week detailing a struggle that many African-American men face, as evidenced by a number of new studies showing that the situation is a lot more critical than what unemployment and other statistics would have you believe. The article is no longer online for free, but you can read the first half of it here.

Christopher Rabb of Afro-Netizen took the Times to task far more eloquently and succinctly than I've seen anybody do in a long time-- read the whole post, just based on these golden nuggets of smackdown:

More interestingly, in these times when the only phrase more pejorative than "liberal" is "Affirmative Action" -- a federal initiative which tripled the Black middle-class in just one generation -- the subtext of the ubiquitous e-mail messages citing this Times article are feelings of vulnerability and rage.


In addressing the plight of the most disadvantaged among my Black brethen in this country, I am particularly concerned about how well -- or is too often the case -- how poorly this crisis is contextualized. Tip-offs of people's perspectives and biases include discussions that start with "these people", "the Blacks" and "what they need to do is . . .".

As my grandmother has always reminded me: "Consider the source." And in so saying, while I have not yet combed through the studies cited by the author of this gripping article in the Times, it is not lost on me that the messenger is the Times and that with every forwarded e-mail, blog post, web link, radio, TV and op/ed in reaction to it validates the writer's and editors' interpretation of this crisis at the expense of perhaps more balanced, progressive analyses of the same studies -- analyses that will not likely have the same acceptance and breadth of readership that they deserve.

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