MBK-BR aims to close the opportunity gaps primarily for Boys and Men of Color (BMOC). Why the focus on BMOC? Almost every social indicator demonstrates that BMOC are at greater risk for growing up in poverty, living in single female-headed households, failing schools, dropping out of school and entering the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems.
The inequities that exist are well documented. The research shows that there are tremendous disparities between males of color and White males, as well as between males of color and females. These disparities are result in negative outcomes for BMOC, in terms of educational and employment opportunities, as well as violence victimization, offending and incarceration. The risk for BMOC to enter the juvenile and criminal justice systems is much greater than it is for White males and females. The risk is enhanced by dropping out of school and employability.
These statistics and the apparent trends support the theory of cyclical disadvantages. The debilitating social factors that lead the BMOC into the pathway for school failure, dropout, unemployment and criminality have not improved. While there is some evidence that, there has been progress in specific areas, there is every indication that the economic gap between Blacks and Whites has not been reduced (Pew Research Center, 2013). The gap in high school graduation between Blacks and Whites has narrowed, but not necessarily for BMOC. The difference in poverty rates among Blacks and Whites has not changed substantially, nor have the income rates. The social factors continue to negatively impact the plight of BMOC, but policies and practices have not supported changes in the disparities either.
Thus, the same social problems continue that ultimately propel BMOC into crime and/or non-productivity− poverty, lack of education, unemployment, incarceration, single female headed households and the intergenerational cycle that promotes this life course for BMOC. The MBK initiative strives to “level the playing field” and stop the cycle into which BMOC fall.
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