Nancy S. James
During a recent discussion with a colleague, she mentioned a statistic she had come across which stated, the most devastating loss to any child, (but especially a male child) was the loss of a father, when the child is between the ages of seven to twelve. This unit is an attempt to intercept the trend of minority, teen-age fathers who are not. responsible for their children. financially or emotionally.
In today’s society the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” is growing exponentially. It appears that the majority of those on the losing side of this “contest” are minority children, especially African American males. There is increasing awareness that if any group is in desperate need of sound advice and direction, it. is young African-American men, many of whom live on the cutting edge of poverty and despair. Their problems run the gamut from a hostile racist environment, unemployment, gang pressure, substandard housing and substandard schools to drug trafficking, substance abuse and incarceration (to name only a few).
Some statistics give a sense of the magnitude of the problem. According to research, nearly one out of four African-American men aged 2O - 29 were in jail, or prisons on probation or parole as of 1989. African-Americans represent only 12% of the population, however 44% of the inmates in state prisons and local jails are African-American males. (Ingrassia 15) Life expectancy for African-American males decreased from 65.2 years to 64.9 years (while white males’ rose from 75.3 to 75.6) (Dickey l39)