Stop singling out young black and Latino men


So President Obama and billionaire Michael Bloomberg are both pushing compensatory programs that single out young black and Latino men for governmental and philanthropic intervention. What could be wrong with that?

Everything, if one objects to stereotyping and the casual use of race and gender to explain and correct the behavior of individuals who happen to belong to a beleaguered minority group.

Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” and Bloomberg’s “Young Men’s Initiative” ring with faddish assumptions about the incorrigible nature of young black men, offering interventionist rhetoric that sounds an awful lot like when America was fixated on “the Negro problem” as the cause of racial inequality and riots. Then, as now, the concept was that if we could somehow get footloose young black men to control themselves — to stay in school or on the job, to keep it in their pants and themselves out of jail — that “the race” would be better off.
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