Black and Latino Men: Why They Fail And How To Change

I was confronted with the question, what's wrong with Black and Latino men, by one of my email responses to the TV show a while back and while dismayed for sexuality and race to be so negatively entwined, I could understand what they meant.  A friend shared with me in a group that he had concerns about the state of men of color because so many that he met were HIV+, ex-convicts, addicts or in recovery/12 Step programs.  While all of these states have a positive upswing to them if maintained healthily, he was concerned that the state of men of color particularly men of color available for long term relationship or hell, even mid-term relationships was dwindling.  Fast.  I did several shows on race and sexuality at first and then when the question came back up again, I thought how could I address it, answer it.

What IS wrong with Black and Latino men?

As we free fall into the 21st Century we're confronted by competition, global competitors in ways that American society hasn't had to deal with before.  The current American university graduation rate is about 40,000 people with engineering/science degrees; in India it's 400,000 and in China i'ts 1 million.  A year.  No, hold on to that figure, a year.

HIV rates are highest for men of color in America and there are close to 30 million Africans who are infected with HIV II in Africa.  The average lifespan for a HIV individual with HIV now is about 24.5 years and the cost to the state/medical is about $600,000 over that time.

From high school measurements, 70% of Black and 80% of Latino students don't graduate on time.  Now this number shifts to to 50% & 65% because "on time" is measured as precisely four years.  Most states have continuous systems that allow make up credits in the Senior summer, so graduation is conferred that September--making them  4.4 years, lowering the percentage. (Just being precise here.)  Those others go on to GED programs but only 50% of those numbers actually accomplish GED completion within 10 years so that means a quarter of Black and a third of Latinos don't graduate high school.

There's the popular measurement of 70% of Black and 60% of Latino households being only 1 parent headed (generally female).  This affects males because in spite of the mothers who testify that they were mother and father to their child and the children who capitulate and proclaim success at one parent---a bad or absent parent is not a fair measurement against a household with two present parents.  Also human beings learn by role modelling.  Males teach boys how to be men and women teach girls.  If a boy sees his mother occupying a position of head of household power when he begins to blossom into maturity and needs a male role model, she's not present and he might go haywire (see: education and crime statistics).

Conversely girls who grow up in a female headed household, see a strong female in charge so they learn how to be a strong, independent woman.  By learning how to be a strong independent woman, one becomes one and perhaps honestly perpetuates a cycle by getting a man who hasn't been modeled manhood too.  She becomes the de facto "man"---in earning potential, in household control, in governmental recognition (you can't maintain your family structure of two adults with services like Welfare---the man must go) so she becomes head of household, just like her mother was and then she has a daughter and the cycle continues.  Males of color are useful for breeding and pleasure but they're simply older children---this goes into the whole refrain of "there are no good men".

United States prison contain well over 2,000,000 people, the largest in the world---half of that number are Black and Latino.  A community deprived of it's men cannot move forward as it forces the women to decide between child rearing properly and earning sustenance.  She might do both but she might not be able to do both effectively.

All of the above is the refrain of men of color but it is affecting truths that disrupt identity for men of color.  In fact if you look at this, men of color are dodging landmines of epic potential in competition or destruction.

But we're still alive.  
And we're thriving.

There are healthy, sane, educated men of color who are MSM however they might only occupy a small population.  Say the statistical evidence of 10% of a population being same gender loving.  That means there are approximate 4 million SGL men of color in America.  Let's say you edit based on age, out/transparency about their sexuality, attractiveness, sanity and accessibility---let's say that cuts 50% out of your choosing pile.  Let's say you edit out regions---more in urban cities like NYC, Chicago, LA, etc.---so we'll knock that down to about 1,000,000 and then we'll divide that across the USA.  Using NYC as an example there are about 100,000 eligible MSM here.  10% are nucking futs---just off the top---we thought they were sane but then---well you know how that goes.  Then let's say half of that number, 45,000 are in relationships with each other or women.

That leaves 45,000 men of color who are MSM in NYC who fit the criteria of "Good Men".

If we apply the above numbers of prison, HIV, education, single parent household lack of manhood training that leaves us with about 20,000 who are directly available without suffering from any of the mass ills above.  However the question then becomes, do you suffer from the mass ills above?

If you do, what do you do?

First, therapy.
Any man of color who is MSM who has not every decade of his life pointedly sat down with a trained therapist, needs to in order to get perspective on his survival against the odds, almost like PTSD.  And then he needs help managing life like we all do, but he might need special help balancing race and homosexuality in America's delightful racial and sexuality loving environment.  Depression at all the things that race and sexuality bring about is also a norm for MSM so it's a great way to work those issues of anger, shame, confusion and despondency out.

Second, education.
While we can all agree that basic (K to 12) is good for the world, being an American male of color means that you have to excel in ways that you might be equipped to without education.  It also means that if you don't educate, you can't assist your community fully.  Most people don't consider that the Civil Rights movement occurred because so many minimally high school/blue collar working men were bale to participate.  Educated men of color become even more powerful the more educated they are.  They developed intellectual skills of flexibility as well as strategic capacity to deal with the world.  Less education, more frustration and resentment but also less coping mechanisms and chances at social and economic success.  Race still is a determining factor in social power in America, men of color need every social and intellectual edge they can get.

Third, relationships.
Single men don't live as a long; are more apt to explore addictions; have more health concerns; couples progress further socially and financially.  Why?  Nagging is also a form of love.  Nagging to take care of one's health, nagging to work harder, nagging to relax.  Husbands and wives have cared for and kept partners alive longer than anyone would have expected in many cases because love is not only a feeling, it's a verb.

MSM must date and perhaps even procreate/parent because human beings are legacy based and relationship addicts.  From statues to children to monuments to buildings to businesses, when you live forward, you grow.  Children also have given humans throughout time reasons to stay healthy, to push on, to deal with depression.

Finally, purpose.
What are you alive for?  To do?  Where do you want to go, travel, do?  Start a business?  Write a novel?  Have a threesome in every state in America?  Learn to salsa?  Sing on Broadway?  We all have goals and dreams, most of them we can make come true.  Don't be shy, don't be reticent---if your goal is a husband find the dating nights at your local community centers and go; get online, go to sexuality based outings; maybe even go to a nightclub once a month.  Get out there.  Live!  Adopt some children.  Be a foster parent. Volunteer with older people with children, cleaning parks, serving at soup kitchens.  Men, Good Men are everywhere but you have to get out there and let them know you're out there too---there are at least 20,000 men around you that you have to start chatting up.

Thank you,
Kyle Phoenix
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