When asked about black men and college Illinois State Senate candidate Al Reynolds has this little gem to say:
"I've been in the city and the dichotomy of the women and the men in the minorities, there is a difference in the fact that most minority women, either the single parent or coming from a poor neighborhood, are motivated more so than the minority men. And it's a pretty good reason. Most of the women who are single parents have to find work to support their family. The minority men find it more lucrative to be able to do drugs or other avenues rather than do education. It's easier."Now its certainly true that black men are a very disenfranchised people. At one point (and it still might be true) young black men coming out of high school (which happens in small numbers relative to other demographics) were just as likely to end up in college as prison. This is definitely something that needs to be addressed but as Watkins (the writer of the link I gave above) says, "...but such comments must be tempered with the acknowledgment that the majority of African-American men are normal people who make normal life decisions".
"We need to provide ways that are more incentive, other than just sports avenues, for the men for the minorities to want to go to college and get an education and better themselves before the women have to support them all."
Life decisions. Thinks like making money, staying out of poverty as best as possible, supporting their families, etc. The same things that people of any other demographic have to worry about. This is something that people seem to have a hard time getting through their heads. Being black in America is not an easy task and being a man in America is not as easy as some would paint it up to be. Black men are tied up in the rather unique dilemma of being characterized as hyper sexual thugs and criminals that don't care about our children and hate women. This is a tough nut to crack and its not being helped by people like Reynolds who seem to have learned everything they know about black men from watching rap videos and movies.
Let's take a look at this. As men we are expected to be external providers (as in working outside the home) for our families no matter the cost. There are plenty of men who take this idea to the point that they are indeed willing to break the law in order to feed their families (and it doesn't help that Reynolds is trying to paint the picture that the black men who do those things are only acting in their own self interest). I've known guys that turned to illegal activities (that's called "hustling" and if Al really understood black men as much as he thinks he does he would know this) just to put food on their tables. The only difference between those men and men who do dangerous work to pay the bills is that those men broke the law. I'm not trying to say that having to provide for a family excuses breaking the law but if we are going to get serious about trying to help black men (an integral part of helping black people overall) then the real reasons for their acts need to be brought to light instead of just blindly believing stereotypes and biases.
So as you see being black and being a man is not a joyous combination.
About that picking drugs over education think about this. When a man has children early in life he (by the script of being a man means being an external provider) certainly has to provide for said children but more importantly he has to provide for them NOW. Hungry, cold, and dependent children can't wait for a college degree. Hungry, cold, and dependent children can't wait for the job market to get better. Hungry, cold, and dependent children can't wait for the best paying job to come up.
Hell I'll bet that Reynolds even believes that the prison system comes down harder on blacks and men more than any other group of people simply because they commit more crimes.