Algernon Austin presents an excellent, concise, and wonderfully read scholarly examination of the complicated landscape of race, class and popular perception. Besides the prison industrial complex, black strides in education, poverty rates, crime and other indices contradict claims that blacks are “moving backward.”
--Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar, Director, Institute for African American Studies, University of Connecticut and author of Black Power: Radical Politics and African American Identity (The Johns Hopkins University Press), 2004 and Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap (University Press of Kansas), 2007.
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[On the Need for Comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform.]
. . . Well, At Least, in the Last 10 Years
For a recent presentation, I needed to quickly illustrate some of the major facts about black America that none of the leading black public intellectuals have paid attention to. I came up with the figure below. The figure allows us to compare the direction and percent change in the poverty rate, the violent crime victimization race, the share of bachelors degrees earned and the teenage birth rate for blacks from 1990 to 2000. The poverty rate was cut by nearly 30 percent, the violent crime rate by nearly 50 percent, the share of bachelor’s degrees increased by 50 percent and the teen birth rate was cut by nearly a third. Somehow black public intellectuals missed these positive developments and claimed that conditions in black America were worse than ever.
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--Algernon Austin, Ph.D.
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