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HEADLINES CAN PAINT A PICTURE

September 27, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

So after receiving about a 100 copies of this most recent press release (thank you very much Associated Press for attempting to show black men (and Hispanics) in a negative light…again! And thank you very much for jumping on the band wagon Urban League. We as a people have got to READ beyond the headlines, and find out what the motivation is behind the claims of any study. We have got to stop falling for the trappings of a very biased and very agenda driven media and the machinery that continues to dumb down black culture as a whole. We have also got to do a better job of researching for ourselves what is and is not true, what is a baited and a partial representation of blacks and what is an out right lie about us. Side Bar: the first thing I did when I saw the headline was go to the original press release by the census to look for the difference between what was reported and what was lambasted by the AP. If you read the 2 side by side, you will see how the government segments the data based on race, and then how the media dramatizes it and exploits the crises of black men in America, for sensationalism and profits…

 THE AP ARTICLE:

Census study eyes blacks in prison

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press Writer Thu Sep 27, 1:06 AM ET

WASHINGTON – More than three times as many black people live in prison cells as in college dorms, the government said in a report to be released Thursday.

The ratio is only slightly better for Hispanics, at 2.7 inmates for every Latino in college housing. Among non-Hispanic whites, more than twice as many live in college housing as in prison or jail.

The numbers, driven by men, do not include college students who live off campus. Previously released census data show that black and Hispanic college students — commuters and those in dorms — far outnumber black and Hispanic prison inmates.

Nevertheless, civil rights advocates said it is startling that blacks and Hispanics are more likely to live in prison cells than in college dorms.

“It’s one of the great social and economic tragedies of our time,” said Marc Morial, president and CEO of the Urban League. “It points to the signature failure in our education system and how we’ve been raising our children.”

The Census Bureau released 2006 data Thursday on the social, racial and economic characteristics of people living in adult correctional facilities, college housing and nursing homes. It is the first in-depth look at people living in “group quarters” since the 1980 census. It shows, for example, that nursing homes had much older residents in 2006 than in 1980.

The new data has limitations. In addition to not including commuter students, it does not provide racial breakdowns by gender or age, though it does show that males make up 90 percent of prison inmates.

Also, most prison inmates are 25 or older while 96 percent of people in college housing are age 18 to 24.

The data show that big increases in black and Hispanic inmates occurred since 1980. In 1980, the number of blacks living in college dorms was roughly equal to the number in prison. Among Hispanics, those in college dorms outnumbered those in prison in 1980.

There are a lot of reasons why black students do not reach college at the same rate as whites, said Amy Stuart Wells, a professor of sociology and education at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Black students are more likely to attend segregated schools with high concentrations of poverty, less qualified teachers, lower expectations and a less demanding curriculum, she said.

“And they are perceived by society as terrible schools, so it is hard to get accepted into college,” Wells said. “Even if you are a high-achieving kid who beats the odds, you are less likely to have access to the kinds of courses that colleges are looking for.”

Students who don’t graduate high school are much more likely to go to prison, said Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. Nearly 40 percent of inmates lack a high school diploma or the equivalent, according to the census data.

“The criminal economy is one of the only alternatives in some of these places,” Orfield said. “You basically have the criminalization of a whole community, particularly in some inner cities.”

Blacks made up 41 percent of the nation’s 2 million prison and jail inmates in 2006. Non-Hispanic whites made up 37 percent and Hispanics made up 19 percent.

Morial, who is a former mayor of New Orleans, said the political debate over high incarceration rates for minorities hasn’t yielded results. He said conservatives blame a lack of family values while liberals blame a lack of government programs, with neither side seeing the whole picture.

“We do, in the African-American community, need to instill a stronger value on education,” Morial said.

But, he added, minority students also need more early childhood education, longer school days, longer school years and more meaningful summer job opportunities.

“We need to get serious about true investment on the front end,” Morial said.

Among the other findings in the census data:

_Men made up about 90 percent of prison and jail inmates in 2006, down from 94 percent in 1980.

_About 9 percent of prison inmates were immigrants last year, up from about 4 percent in 1980. Immigrants made up about 13 percent of the total population in 2006.

_Non-Hispanic whites made up about 73 percent of the 2.3 million people living in college housing in 2006. Blacks made up about 12 percent, Asians about 7 percent and Hispanics about 6 percent.

THE CENSUS DATA

Census Bureau Releases New Data on Residents of Adult Correctional
Facilities, Nursing Homes and Other Group Quarters
Annual Data Also Paint Diverse Portrait of Nation’s Race, Ethnic and Ancestry Groups

     New data released today from the U.S. Census Bureau provide the first social and economic characteristic profiles of the people living in group quarters – such as adult correctional facilities, college dorms and nursing homes – in nearly three decades.

     “This release marks the first in-depth look at the characteristics of the nonhousehold population since the 1980 Census,” said Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon. “These are important data to understand as decision makers grapple with policies that impact the people who live in these facilities.”

     The latest data from the American Community Survey also include profiles of more than 100 race and ethnic group iterations such as blacks, Chinese and Mexicans. In addition, profiles for 72 ancestry groups, from Afghani to Welsh, are also available.

     Selected national highlights for today’s data release include the following:

The Group Quarters Population as a Whole

The group quarters data are collected for two categories of facilities: institutional, including residences such as correctional facilities, nursing homes and psychiatric hospitals; and noninstitutional, which include residences such as college dormitories, military barracks and adult group homes. Profiles are available for specific group quarters type for the nation, regions, Puerto Rico and the 35 states that have a group quarters population of at least 45,000. Table shells can be found on the ACS 2006 Data Products Page and data can be accessed via American FactFinder. The applicable subject tables are S2601A, B, C and C-PR (Puerto Rico).

  • Nationally, 8.1 million people were living in group quarters, or about 2.7 percent of the total population, according to the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program.
  • The group quarters population is more likely to be never married or widowed than the total population – 62 percent of those 15 and older living in group quarters have never been married and 15 percent were widowed, compared with 31 percent and 6 percent for the total population.
  • The group quarters population had lower levels of educational attainment than the total population – 61 percent of those 25 and older living in group quarters were high school graduates or higher and 9 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 84 percent and 27 percent for the total population.
  • Individuals living in group quarters have much lower per capita income than the total population – the per capita income of those living in group quarters was $8,095 in 2006 compared to $25,267 for the total population. Those living in noninstitutional group quarters had lower per capita income than those living in institutional group quarters, $7,423 compared with $8,737.
  • Of the group quarters population, 58 percent were male and 42 percent were female.

Residents of Adult Correctional Facilities

  • The population living in adult correctional facilities was 2.1 million in 2006, nearly double the 1990 population of 1.1 million. In 2000, the adult correctional population was nearly 2 million.
  • Males comprised more than 90 percent of the adult correctional population in 2006. Females represented 10 percent of this population in 2006, up from 8 percent in 1990.
  • More than 60 percent of the population of adult correctional facilities was between the ages of 25 and 44. The median age of the adult correctional population is 34.3.
  • About 46 percent of the adult correctional population was white alone. Also, approximately 41 percent of the adult correctional population was black alone and 19 percent were Hispanic.
  • Of those 25 and older, 61 percent in adult correctional facilities had graduated high school and 3 percent had at least a bachelor’s degree. The comparable rates for the total population were 84 percent and 27 percent, respectively.

Residents of Nursing Facilities

  • Unlike the adult correctional population, the population of nursing facilities was disproportionately female. Females comprised approximately half of the total population, but were nearly 70 percent of the nursing facility population.
  • Nearly three-in-four residents of nursing facilities were 75 or older. The median age of nursing facility residents was 83.2.
  • The population living in nursing facilities was more likely to be white alone than the total population, 84 percent compared with 75 percent. The black alone population represented 13 percent of both the nursing home population and the total population. They were less likely to be of Hispanic or Latino origin than the total population, 4 percent compared with 15 percent.

Selected Race, Ethnic Group Highlights

  • Among the Asian alone population 25 and older, bachelor’s degrees or higher were held by 68.6 percent of Asian Indians, 46.3 of Japanese and 51.7 percent of Chinese.
  • Among the Hispanic population 5 and older, 84.4 percent of Cubans, 79.1 percent of Mexicans, and 69 percent of Puerto Ricans spoke a language other than English at home.
  • Among the black population alone households, 29 percent were in married couple families compared with 49.7 percent for the nation. Of the black alone population 25 and older, 16.9 percent had bachelor’s degrees or higher.
  • Among the American Indian alone population 30 years and older, 6.9 percent live with their grandchildren, compared with 3.5 percent of the total population.
  • Among Alaska Natives alone, 34.5 percent are married, compared with 50.4 percent of the total population.
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Categories: PRESS, THINKING OUT LOUD
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  1. September 29, 2007 at 3:25 pm

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