The Mistreatment Of Young African American Men Is “An American Issue”

A look at the unique challenges faced in modern American society by young Black men.

“It is an American issue.”

-Waldo E. Johnson, PhD

“The names have become all too familiar, and not in a positive way”, writes Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson. “Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Fifty years after America’s turbulent journey to a new era of civil rights, it can seem, if you watch television news or keep up with social media, that young black males are as much under siege today as they ever were. The subject of suspicion by white Americans. Targeted by the police. And their lives, under-valued by police and other authorities. And greatly endangered in their own, violence wracked neighborhoods. That’s not even to get to the lopsided educational and economic outcomes of young Black males face.

“We talk, in America, an awful lot about this. But what can be done? What specifically can be done to better fulfill the american promise for young black people?”

Young African American men face systematic challenges that lead to life outcomes that are disadvantageous, according to an expert in the field of social work, race and culture. Waldo E. Johnson Jr. is an associate professor at University of Chicago. 

“It’s really important that as a nation we are able to instill confidence in the eyes of particularly African American males, people within the African American community,” he says. He says the conversation needs to happen, and discourse will help others realize how limited opportunities for African American men have become. He says it isn’t just about race and discrimination but about hardships a community has faced throughout time. He says the damage done over time has not been fully resolved in today’s society.

Waldo E. Emerson Jr. of the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, will deliver the Wayne State School of Social Work’s Ninth Annual Diversity Lecture, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the university’s community arts auditorium.