Opinion

DERRICK Z. JACKSON

The positive numbers about young black men

illustration by ben o’brien for the boston globe

Earlier this month, an attention-grabbing 30-second video, released by the Mystic Valley Area Branch of the NAACP and featuring Medford High School students, debunked many stereotypes and myths about young black men. But why stop there? Some other numbers to consider:

9 out of 10 black people 12 or older currently don’t use illicit drugs.

93% don’t suffer from substance abuse issues.

7 out of 10 black fathers ages 15 to 44 who live with their children bathe, dress, diaper, or help their child use the toilet daily — the highest ratio by race.

Hispanic or Latino
63.9
White, single race
73.9
Black or African-American, single race
78.2
Fathers who don’t live with their children
Hispanic or Latino
7.3
White, single race
6.6
Black or African-American, single race
12.7
DATA: US Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

9 out of 10 young black adults ages 25 to 29 have completed high school or its equivalent — the same ratio as the national average.

■ Among Boston-area universities and colleges, Tufts, Harvard, MIT, Boston College, Boston University, Bentley, Babson, and Emerson graduate at least 8 out of 10 black men enrolled.

School Black Males (%) All Males (%) Total (%)
Babson 94 89 90
Bentley 81 89 90
Boston College 77 90 91
Boston University 78 83 84
Emerson 83 82 81
Harvard 97 97 97
MIT 83 91 93
Tufts 87 90 92
DATA: NCAA.org

■ There are 59% more black men in postsecondary education than jail.

■ Black high school graduates are 3x more likely to be in college or employed than unemployed.

■ Black fathers ages 15 to 44 had the highest rates of helping children with homework and taking them to and from activities of any race.

Fathers who live with their children and helped with homework every day
Hispanic or Latino
63.9
White, single race
73.9
Black or African-American, single race
78.2
Fathers who live with their children and took them to and from activities every day
Hispanic or Latino
22.8
White, single race
19.5
Black or African-American, single race
27.1
DATA: US Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

6 out of 10 black young adults 25 to 29 (compared to 18 percent in 1971) have at least some college — the same ratio as the national average.

4 out of 5 black fathers living with their children read to them.

Hispanic or Latino
63.9
White, single race
73.9
Black or African-American, single race
78.2
Fathers who don’t live with their children
Hispanic or Latino
*
White, single race
3.2
Black or African-American, single race
7.8

* Figure did not meet standards of reliability or precision

DATA: US Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

■ Urban public institutions which serve populations from tougher circumstances are known for lower graduation rates. But UMass Boston has gone from 2 out of 10 black men graduating in 2004 to 4 out of 10 in 2010, one of the fastest rises in the nation.

SOURCES: US Census, American Council of Education, US Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Education Trust, NCAA.org, Pew Social Trends

Click here for an illustrated version of this column.

Related:

Derrick Z. Jackson: 19th annual Graduation Gap Bowl

Michael P. Jeffries: Ferguson must force us to face anti-blackness

Farah Stockman: ‘Dear White People’ or ‘Dear Bougie Black People’?

Tom Keane: Race and (re)vision in today’s America

Derrick Z. Jackson can be reached at jackson@globe.com.