Monday, July 22, 2013

Young Black Males: OVER-Represented in Prisons NOT in the Military

Conventional wisdom is often wrong. Like that bit of conventional wisdom that holds that military service disproportionately attracts men and women from disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom are members of minority groups. Many people believe that troops enlist primarily because they have few options, not because they want to serve their country. A recent study on the matter shows that NOT to be the case; (

When compared military volunteers to the civilian population on four demographic characteristics: household income, education level, racial and ethnic background, and regional origin. As a result, we now know who serves in the active-duty ranks of the U.S. all-volunteer military.

According to the report (p. 13), “both active-duty enlisted troops and officers come disproportionately from high income neighborhoods—a trend that has increased since 9/11”. As can be seen from the chart on the left, only 11% of enlisted recruits in 2007 came from the poorest 1/5 (quintile) of neighborhoods, while 25% came from the wealthiest quintile. These trends are even more pronounced in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, in which 40 percent of enrollees come from the wealthiest neighborhoods. Also contrary to popular perceptions, U.S. military enlisted troops are not poorly educated. In fact, American soldiers are significantly more likely to have a high school diploma than their civilian peers: only 1.4% of enlisted recruits in 2007 had not graduated from high school or completed a high school equivalency degree, compared to 20.8% of the general male population in the age range between 18 and 24. Moreover, 95% of officer accessions have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Likewise, the conventional wisdom that minorities are overrepresented in the military is not supported by the facts. No clear racial imbalance is evident in regard to enlisted personnel. Among the officer corps, Caucasians are proportionately represented and African-Americans are overrepresented. American Indian and Alaskan natives are the most overrepresented group among new recruits. Asians and Pacific Islanders are slightly underrepresented. Hispanics are also underrepresented, with the troop-to-population ratio of 0.65 in 2007.

So, why are young black males so overrepresented in prison? In 2010 black non-Hispanic males were incarcerated at the rate of 4,347 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents of the same race and gender. White males were incarcerated at the rate of 678 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents. Hispanic males were incarcerated at the rate of 1,755 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents!

Moreover, the disproportionate black male crime rates DO NOT decrease in predominantly black and black-run cities. Interestingly enough, black majority cities have similar crime statistics for blacks as do cities where majority of population is white. For instance, white-majority San Diego has a slightly lower crime rate for blacks than does Atlanta, a city which has black majority in population and city government.

1 comment:

WomanHonorThyself said...

your post title says it all..keep the faith:)

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