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Friday, June 17, 2005Black Men: Missing
As we limp into the 21st century, a gender gap is rending the fabric of the entire African-American community.
The overwhelming absence of Black men has always been one of the most distressing facts about life in America's public housing developments. In Chicago, for example, black women are the vast majority of lease holders in the Chicago Housing Authority; men are like ghosts in the projects.
Besieged by poverty, disease, violence and mass incarceration, African-American men are conspicuously missing in action. At one time, this gender imbalance afflicted mostly lower-income neighborhoods. But as we limp into the 21st century, that gender gap is rending the fabric of the entire African-American community.
"Where have all the Black men gone?" asked the headline on a story by Jonathan Tilove for The Star Ledger in Newark, N.J. The article examined the New Jersey city of East Orange, where there are 37 percent more adult women than men. Tilove wrote that most of the missing men are dead, and many others are locked up or in the military.