North Carolina Panel Warns Without Educational ‘Transformation’, Black Men In America Face a Grim Future

The panel found educational disparities at the root of many problems facing African-American men today. Photo by Simone Jasper, senior reporter.
The panel found educational disparities at the root of many problems facing African-American men today. Photo by Simone Jasper, senior reporter.

Panelists gathered Thursday night in Whitley Auditorium to analyze the current issues facing African-American men and offer their perspectives for the future. During the discussion, Black Men in America – Imagining the Future, the panelists found that many of the problems that confront the social group are ingrained in modern society.

Jean Rohr, director of the Center for Access and Success, assembled the panel of six black men who are experts in different disciplines. During the event, she served as moderator for the topics of medicine, education and law.

The discussion emphasized education as the pathway to medicine and law.

A lack of black males in the education system causes problems, according to panelist Anthony Graham, chair of North Carolina A&T State University’s school of education.

“Fewer than one percent of the teaching force is African-American men,” Graham said. “If our young black men aren’t seeing these professionals, they won’t be that profession.”

According to Rohr, statistics show that serious racial disparities also exist in the field of medicine.

Panel member Gerald Truesdale, a Greensboro, N.C., physician who specializes in plastic and reconstructive surgery, said the number of African-American men who apply to medical school has decreased significantly in recent years. He also said data shows patients of the same race as their physician tend to better relate to their healthcare provider.

Graham said African-American men are often the victims of underlying institutional problems of the nation’s education system. He said that transformation, rather than reformation, is necessary in order to improve the situation.

Truesdale said that a sense of family and community is important for the education of African-American men, citing the support that he received in his upbringing.

Senior Jordan Joshua called for a “continuous presence” of black males as role models.

Although educational disparities exist, Graham said that people often have misperceptions about black males in higher education.

“There are more black males educated in college than there are in jail,” Graham said. “We perpetuate something that’s a myth.”

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SOURCE: The Pendulum
Simone Jasper