There’s a reason Baltimore is rioting – and Freddie Gray is just the beginning.
If the numbers are any indication, African-American lives really are treated as more “disposable” than the lives of Whites; in fact, one of every six Black men aged 25 to 54 has disappeared from daily life in the U.S. That’s about 1.5 million people.
These stats come from The New York Times, which blames the disappearances on premature death and incarceration, and goes on to examine the gaps left on society. The Times reports that, on average in the U.S., there are only 83 black men for every 100 black women in the same age group living outside of jail. Without enough men to become fathers and husbands, black communities are reeling.
It’s generally worse in the South, and in big Northeastern and Midwestern cities with large African-American populations. Not surprisingly, the largest single gap – 40 missing black men per 100 black women – is in Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown was gunned down by police last August.
Need proof that this is a racial issue? For every 100 White women, only about one White man is missing due to incarceration or early death. The ugly truth is that Black men in the U.S. have a disproportionately higher rate of dying young than their white counterparts, often from homicide or AIDS.
And although the death toll has been shrinking in recent years, the number of Black men in prison is on the rise, fueled by the senseless war on drugs. More than half of the people in prison are there on drug charges. And while Whites and Blacks use drugs at about the same rate, African-American men are six times more likely to be incarcerated than their White counterparts.
So next time someone tells you race is no longer an issue in the United States, tell them the numbers say otherwise.