Obama recently rolled out the My Brother's Keeper initiative aimed at helping minority boys and young men. The goal is basically to get them education, employed, and out of trouble -- and if they're in trouble, to get them back on the right track. So naturally, Georgetown Law pof Paul Butler is asking, "But what about the wimmin?" Here's a bit from an article he wrote for CNN:
There's a myth that girls of color are doing better than boys. But that's not supported by the facts. Indeed the White House website attempts to justify MBK's exclusion of females by stating that "boys of color are too often born into poverty and live with a single parent."
But don't African-American girls live in the same single-parent households as African-American boys? Don't Latina girls attend the same failing schools as Latino boys? Isn't a teenage girl on a reservation in California as afraid of being a victim of rape as a teenage boy in Chicago is afraid of being a victim of gun violence?
It would actually be quite surprising if the odds of a girl being raped on an Indian reservation was the same as a boy being shot in Chicago, and we're sure the stats are out there somewhere, but we're not going to look into that particular one because frankly, it'd take too much time, not to mention problems with rapes being under-reported -- gunshots on the other hand tend to draw police attention.
But what we will look at are the more easily comparable stats. Is is a myth that girls of color are doing better than boys of color?
Black women are twice as likely to get a 4 year college degree than black men. [Dep't Ed] The numbers are similarly skewed for Hispanic and Native Americans and at all levels of education except when it comes to blacks getting master's degrees (black women get 71%) and Hispanics getting PhDs (Latinas only get 55%). Nowhere on the spectrum are girls of color not doing better than boys.
According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, black males are about 30% more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than black females. [NCJRS]
Black men are 50% more likely to have been arrested than black women. They're six times as likely to have been charged in federal court. [BJS]
The black unemployment rate for men is 30% higher than for women, though Hispanic men are doing slightly better than Hispanic women overall. For youth the numbers are much worse. Black men aged 16-19 have a 42.8% unemployment rate, while it's 27.5% for women. At age 20-24 it's 25.5% for black men, 18.5% for black women. Hispanic youth were at a virtual tie at these ages. [BLS]
But don't African-American girls live in the same single-parent households as African-American boys?
It would appear not. That won't stop a Georgetown law profess though, and why should it? You see, law school teach you to think like a lawyer, and what does that mean? Cheat To Win. Your loyalty is to your client, to your cause, not to some higher notions of truth or justice. All that matters is winning the argument.
PS: There's this little thing called the White House Council on Women and Girls, but no corresponding op-ed from Paul Butler demanding that men and boys be included. And they shouldn't be. Including boys in programs designed to help girls is like giving them a mastectomy to cure prostate cancer. Doesn't mean there shouldn't also be prostate cancer treatments, but we shouldn't have the Paul Butlers of the world complaining that the woman in the next exam room isn't all getting a finger up her rectum.