Sep 15 2014

Series Explores Black Male Experience in the US – I Am A Man Featuring Mark’s Story

(This is Episode 2. Click here to listen to Episode 1.) The events of this summer in Ferguson, Missouri, highlighted an ugly truth to mainstream Americans – that Black men in this country are viewed as so suspicious by law enforcement that they are shot first and questioned later. It is a reality that black men have been living with in the United States since the very beginning.

Today, Black American Men have the shortest life expectancy of any demographic in the US. In their interactions with law enforcement African Americans are three times more likely to have their person or vehicle be searched than Whites, more than three times more likely to be handcuffed, and almost three times more likely to be arrested. One in every 15 African American men is incarcerated compared to 1 in every 106 white men. Fully one third of all black men can expect to go to prison during their lifetime. In 2010, the national graduation rate for Black male students was only 52% compared to 78% for White males.

There are many more statistics, each as dismal as the other. So much so that President Obama recently launched a project called My Brother’s Keeper, aimed, “to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.” Why do we as a society refuse to embrace the humanity of black men? Why are black men constantly seen as “the other”? How does it affect their psyche, and by extension, all of us?

Today, as part of our on-going series Real People, Real Stories, we continue our project called “I Am a Man,” exploring the lives, aspirations, and struggles of black men. The title of this project is based on the civil rights era declaration of humanity by striking sanitation workers in Memphis and at various other times in the US.

To explore the themes of this project Uprising host Sonali Kolhatkar reached out to men in her own circle of friends and colleagues, to explore the impact of their personal experiences.

This is Episode 2. Click here to listen to Episode 1.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Series Explores Black Male Experience in the US – I Am A Man Featuring Mark’s Story”

  1. SRCon 22 Sep 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Wow! This is extremely upsetting! I am a 51 yr old woman who happens to be white. (Just thought I should identify myself as these men have).
    Listening to these wonderful men tell their stories has brought me to tears, anger, and/or shock at the treatment they have incurred by being a black male. Don’t get me wrong, I am not some unrealistic, uninformed person, I do know the perils of black men but revealed in this format is most powerful.
    Hearing their voices and personal stories has more impact than reading it in print. I am grateful to these men for enlightening me with their truths and pain and anger. I am floored at the fear of what they may face on a day to day basis as they step out of their homes. No one should have to live like this.
    Unfortunately, I did not realize these men at a very young age, grade school aged boys, have had to deal with law enforcement being suspicious of them just because they are little black boys!!!
    So much to deal with at such a very young age can create so many issues, and it doesn’t stop ever, it is all so wrong and inhumane!
    I wish it were mandatory that every law enforcement agency was required to listen to this insightful program…if only.
    Thank you Sonali and your staff.

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