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Urban Maroons: Disengagement and Black Survival

Amari Chris Johnson


On Sunday, March 20, 2006, the New York Times published an article entitled “Plight Deepens for Black Men, Studies Warn,” which presented the findings of a string of studies by “experts” at Columbia, Princeton, Harvard, and other universities. These studies report that “poorly educated black men are becoming even more disconnected from the mainstream [American] society . . . ” amidst “an economic boom and a welfare overhaul . . . [that has] brought gains to black women . . . ” The article sites “terrible schools, absent parents, racism, the decline in blue collar jobs and a subculture that glorifies swagger over work . . . as causes of the deepening ruin of black youths.” To combat this, social programs are placing emphasis on life skills, such as “parenting, conflict resolution, and character building,” in addition to job training. While providing a slew of misguided analyses and ill-informed proposals, the article does manage, unknowingly and ironically enough, to call attention to a social phenomenon that deserves greater attention: Black disengagement.

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ProudFlesh: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics and Consciousness. ISSN: 1543-0855 (online).
Editor: Dr. Sonjah Nadine Stanley-Niaah.

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