LADIES: I FOUND YOUR MAN!! HE’S IN JAIL
Black men account for 7 % of the population, but a disproportionate amount of our brothers are incarcerated. I’ve heard percentages as high as 40%. Let’s do the numbers. The prison population accounts for at least 2 million; if not more. Depending on what study and statistics you read. In case you’re confused; our brown brothers are grouped into this statistic. Back in 2008, out of 1.2 million African American children, 11% had a parent incarcerated. These statistics and percentages are staggering and include our sisters. Who knows what the true numbers are today?
When we talk about why we don’t have eligible men we are quick to repeat the standard issues, but this an epidemic. Or should I say a pandemic? This is erasing a generation. This is genocide. How do we fix this? Whatever we’re doing isn’t working.
I have a few friends that work and volunteer with prison ministries. It’s not unusual for my friend to tell me that everyone in attendance gave their life to Christ when he extended the invitation. I know I’m going to make a lot of people mad, but I’m frightened for where we’re going. Jesus isn’t the answer. Church isn’t serving the community. Schools aren’t held to a standard that could make a difference. Too many times there are single mothers that are working to provide for their family. How does she raise her son, and still put food on the table? Damn! Damn! Damn! (In my Florida Evans voice.) This is so overwhelming I don’t know where to start.
This is bringing tears to my eyes. This is going to sound self-serving, but it hurts. I have a daughter who I love more than anything. When she was a freshmen in college the rate of male to female was 8 to 1. Now that she’s in graduate school I’m sure the divide has grown. I never thought I would question whether or not my daughter would marry and have a family. But I do. Who is she going to marry? I really don’t give a damn if I remarry, but my baby. Will she have a family?
If you’re not frightened by these statistics you should be. Somebody give me a damn answer! The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. White collar criminals are imprisoned in facilities with all the amenities; while my brothers are lucky to get out alive. The recidivism rate for men of color is disheartening. Over 16% of black males are likely to return to prison, or be a repeat offender. In the past I have mentored high school students. When I was putting my classes together I always targeted young black men. These are the ones with the target on their back. You destroy them, you divide and destroy not only a generation, but a nation. This is a conversation that needs to start within our community.
We’re so worried about having a man and getting married. Get a clue ladies. How are you going to reproduce by yourself? GOD meant for us to procreate, but HE also meant for children to be blessed with a Mother and a Father. There is strength in numbers. There is greater strength in family.
JILL SCOTT (THE FACT IS)