When my son was just eight weeks and two days into his gestational period, I settled my anxiety of giving birth to a Black male. The night before I gave birth, unlike his twin sister, he was hovered up into the corner of my womb and his heart rate had begun to slow down. That following morning, he was born. Now 20, my Black son has dreams and aspirations but there is the threat of death in the air.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for Black males between ages 20 and 24 is more than double the national average for this age group (14.3% vs. 7.1%). The APA report on “Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic and Sexual Minority Boys & Men” prompted a deeper focus on how these employment disparities lead to adverse health impacts, specifically amongst Black millennial men. An APA fact sheet examines this narrowed topic.
From 2001 to 2015, the suicide risk for Black boys between the ages of 5 and 11 was two to three times higher than that of White boys, according to a new research letter in JAMA Pediatrics (Bridge, 2018). This concerning trend continues through adolescence as reported by the Nationwide Youth Risk Behavior Survey (Kann et al., 2017). The rates of attempted suicide, including attempts that resulted in an injury, poisoning, or overdose, are 1.2x higher among Black males compared to White males.
They say, “Black boys turn blue in the moonlight”. In the Oscar winning movie Moonlight, the story follows character Chiron as he develops into a man. What’s interesting about Chiron’s story is that it mirrors that of countless other African American men. Chiron is simply not allowed to “be” – he’s bullied for being “Little,” beaten because of his demeanor, and denied the opportunity to safely and freely explore his sexuality. It is indeed under this distress that Black boys turn blue.
By Andrew Smiler, PhD Man up… whatever that means. Telling a guy to “man up” or “be a man about it” or “not act like such a girl” can be an amazingly powerful insult. When used in just the right away, especially by a powerful or popular male, the guy on the receiving end of […]