2:02pm June 4, 2013

Black Males: An Endangered Species


By Dr. Randy B. Nelson

Have you ever noticed the intense passion and commitment exhibited by many when it comes to saving endangered animals or protesting against the killing or maltreatment of animals?  Don’t get me wrong, I am a bonafide animal lover.  But, as I reflect on the condition of Black men and boys in America, one would be hard pressed to find a more endangered species.  Black males typically rank at the top of most negative social, financial, health, and educational indicators known to man.  Since I am a Floridian, I will use my home state to make the argument for the inclusion of Black males on the endangered species list.

According to the Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males 2012, Florida’s graduation rate for Black males was approximately 47%.   Only six other states reported a lower graduation rate.  If less than half of the Black males eligible to graduate from high school are in fact graduating, what outcome should we expect for the 53% that did not graduate?  Although Black males represent less than 9% of Florida’s population, they comprise 47% of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and 46% of the Department of Corrections incarcerated populations. Criminologists have long since recognized the correlation between lower educational attainment levels and the likelihood of incarceration.

While these sobering statistics may justify the need to include Black males on the endangered species list, it doesn’t answer the question as to how to remove them.  When animals are placed on the endangered species list, specific restrictions, policies and laws are enacted to prevent further population decline or extinction.  This has not been the case for Black males.  I would argue the same level of sustained commitment is needed to change the plight of the Black male.

At the urging of the Florida Caucus of Black State Legislators, the 2013 Florida legislature approved and Governor Rick Scott signed a state budget containing a small down payment towards changing the trajectory of Black males in Florida.  The funding of the Situational Environment Circumstances (SEC) mentoring model served notice that Florida’s consistently low graduation rates and high incarceration rates for Black males are unacceptable and unsustainable.  It is also denotes a recognition that an effective educational system at the front-end could reduce the nearly $3 billion tax payer funded budgets of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and Department Corrections.  As previously noted, Black males comprise nearly 50% of each of these agencies incarcerated population.

The University of Florida, College of Education, has partnered with Florida’s Historical Black Colleges and Universities throughout the state to implement the SEC mentoring model and conduct cutting-edge research on effective Black male engagement strategies.  Partnering institutions include Edward Waters College (Duval County), Bethune Cookman University (Volusia County), Florida A & M University (Leon County) and Florida Memorial University (Miami-Dade County).  Select students from these institutions will mentor minority male elementary age students attending low performing schools.  The mentors and mentees will share similar family, socioeconomic, community and educational backgrounds.  This allow mentors to provide their mentees with real life examples of educational achievement and the tools needed to overcome social and educational obstacles encountered along the way.

I fully recognize that no single initiative or program will immediately resolve the issues and problems that have negatively impacted Black males for generations.  However, our collective failure as a community, state and nation to address the systemic threats to the survival of an irreplaceable segment of the human race is and should be unacceptable the greatest nation in the world.


randyRandy B. Nelson, Ph.D., founded 21st Century Research and Evaluations, Inc. in 1997.  21st Century was created with the vision of finding solutions for today’s societal problems, particularly those affecting disadvantaged communities.  Dr. Nelson earned his B.A. degree in Sociology from Eckerd College, a M.S. degree in Criminology with emphasis on Corrections Administration from the University of South Florida, and a Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Florida State University.  Dr. Nelson has served as an adjunct professor/instructor at Florida State University, Florida A & M University and Tallahassee Community College.  He stays on the cutting edge of research and evaluation techniques.


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  1. Robby

    Dr. Nelson your comments are spot on. The State of Florida seems to be incarcerating black male youth at at rate comparable to graduating these same youth. I find this data extremely disturbing. Viable alternatives are needed to right this wrong. I am greatful for the SEC initiative and I wish you much success.


    Dr. Nelson, It is with much sincerety h

    • The black women is directly responsible ALONE for the demise of the the black man. For the last 100 years that women has taught her children to hate their fathers and therefore hate them selves. That black woman hides behind “she had to do everything without help from the black man”.
      Did she think about her actions when she laid down to make that baby with him or did she not know this black man is denied every opportunity for advancement that this society can keep from him.
      The black African American women likes there new found position in America that places her above all others in the african American community and will not surrender it even at the destruction of her and her people.Even, if it means submitting herself the to rule of the man God gave to protect,love and prosper and her children. Instead she accepts the teachings of the oppressor that her father, husband, or father of her child and most damaging her male child is inferior to her and all others, and should be kept them down by her emasculating treatment that she raises her children under.There lies the source and the remedy of the endangered black male!


    Dr. Nelson, It is with much sincerety that I wish much success with your venture. I too have taken up the crusade for the success of Black Men in America’s continual mortality, liberties and healthy relationships in their homes, communities, schools and workplace. GOD’s speed!

  4. ana

    Dr.Randy B.Nelson, you hit the nail on the head. Nobody can save us but us,more Black Men is needed for the challenge…Please continue the wonderful work that you are doing…We need Strong Black Families.

  5. Erogies

    Sir: Your sage articulate address of Black fratricide and genocide transports me back to the historical plight and works of Fredrick Douglas, to save a people viewed less value than crops and animals. To save the Black Men, is the critical path to saving Black America where babies are raising babies, absent of a father. Thus, destroying the foundation of family in Black America. Until the Black Men are placed in a military uniform to be given worth and seen as human beings, as Douglas convinced President Lincoln in 1865, we wrestle with the same merger of ignorance and capitalism, to perpetuate selfishness and dominance over a people. I applaud you and will reach out to assist in creating a revolution to see an evolution, of Black America and America, where she stands as a beacon for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — purpose and legacy.

  6. Sherry

    Dr. Nelson, I agree with your comments to a certain degree, but what is lacking in these males is a foundation built on morality, integrity, and respect. To be spiritually connected and guided by principles, laws, statutes, and judgments is of utmost importance! Black males are an endangered species, but black males’ reaction to societal woes puts him on the bottom of the totem pole. Thus the higher incarceration of the black male. We all suffer as a result! Family, friends, neighbors and society. We all pay financially and sometimes physically, either by being a victim of his crime or paying to house him in a correctional facility. Being a vegan for over 16 years, I am a staunch supporter of animal rights and an advocate of bringing the original black male back from extinction. We, black women, need him to step up; the family need him to be the best provider and role model ever, the community needs him to be an asset and not a liability. We all win when the black male wins!

  7. Mark O’Mara justifies shooting of Black Men
    Check this out: You live in the US…you are a white man with a racist attitude….go into any gun store and buy a gun…go out and shoot a black man…get a white lawyer like Mark O’Mara to argue that you feared for your life…go before a white judge with a white majority jury….and you are home FREE…

  8. CJ

    There are hundreds of millions of blacks in Africa and their population is expected to quadruple. They’re far from endangered.

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