The Black Male and the United States Economy

This paper examines the current status of black males in the United States economy and emphasizes several positive aspects of the changing status of black males over time. While we acknowledge that the social and economic conditions of black males in the United States are troubling in many respects, our objective is to highlight the progress and achievements of black males. Most research on black males focuses solely on the problems and rarely highlights the successes and accomplishments. However, little attention has been paid to the achievements in education, the professional successes, and the positive community and family involvement of black males in the United States. We consider black male accomplishments in three separate but related contexts. First, a significant number of black males have received a bachelor’s degree or postgraduate degree in recent decades. Second, black males have made inroads to professional occupations in increasing numbers. Finally, a significant number of black males are supporting themselves and their families. Although many barriers make it difficult for black males to take advantage of economic opportunities in this country, there are still a number of black males who are taking the steps necessary to achieve economic success. As authors of this paper, we do not wish to diminish the efforts of scholars and journalists who examine the problems of black males. Rather, this paper focuses on the enormous progress black males have made in the U.S. economy and their many outstanding achievements. Similarly, by writing about black males, we do not mean to suggest that black females have not also made significant gains in and contributions to the U.S. economy. But our objective here is to call attention to and document some of the contributions black males have made and continue to make to the economy.