By Mike Green
There are literally hundreds of programs, efforts and initiatives across the nation targeting the empowerment of America’s black boys. The result of so many efforts is demonstrable failure to move significant needles that measure success. Most of these efforts are severely under-funded and most miss the mark with their predominant focus on marketing mantra from the 20th century (i.e. get a good education and find a job). This trajectory is losing ground and disconnected with the realities of a new age of innovation and technology driven entrepreneurship.
Meanwhile, the explosive growth of the innovation economy across all sectors, including media, have left behind those who are disconnected from it. And this is my main problem. White America isn’t concerned with the 20th century problems Black America still is reeling from in the 21st century. And while we seek to address the ills of poverty and poor education, we are failing to prepare and equip our black boys to compete in a game they not only do not understand but fundamentally lack the resources to be competitive in.
This problem, in my opinion, is an American one, not just a Black American problem. Because with so many black boys so out of the loop and ill-prepared to compete in today’s innovation economy, we have no hope of moving the needle of 1% contribution to GDP, 0.25% business employment, 0% job growth, etc. Meanwhile, we prepare our children to go to college to get a piece of paper to work for someone else who is likely not to give them a job (blacks have double unemployment rate of whites for 40 straight years).
This problem isn’t going away by articulating it within a narrow scope to avoid generalization. And while generalizing leads to dismissal of even a valid argument, I also introduce the point that no method of approach to this subject has worked to capture the attention of Black leadership and investment in addressing the unique challenges of the 21st century innovation economy imperative.
Mike Green is a former award-winning journalist with 14 years media experience. He is the CIO of BlackInnovation.org. Mike speaks and writes about the Innovation Economy. Mike can be reached at email@example.com.