“To be male, poor, and either African-American or Native-American is to confront, on a daily basis, a deeply held racism that exists in every social institution,” writes our Brookings colleague Camille Busette. “No other demographic group has fared as badly, so persistently and for so long.” To meet this “appalling crisis,” Camille calls for nothing less than “a New Deal for Black men”.

Creating this New Deal is one of the core priorities of the Race, Prosperity and Inclusion Initiative, directed by Camille, but also of the new Boys and Men Project launched today out of the Center on Children and Families. The elements of this New Deal will likely consist of intentional policymaking in the fields of education and training, the labor market, family policy (especially for fathers), criminal justice reform; and tackling concentrated poverty.

This is one area where it is reasonable to hope for some bipartisan action. Witness the creation in 2019 of a new Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, charged with recommending policies to “improve upon, or augment, current government programs.” This bipartisan Commission, consisting of 19 members, will “investigate potential civil rights violations affecting black males and study the disparities they experience in education, criminal justice, health, employment, fatherhood, mentorship and violence.” The Commission is required by law to report annually and “make recommendations to improve the social conditions and provide vital guidance for Congress on effective strategies to reduce the racial disparities in education, criminal justice, health and employment”.

Here, we provide some key facts on Black men’s outcomes in eight important domains, compared to Black women, white women, and white men.

  • Education 
  • Upward mobility
  • Earnings 
  • Labor force participation 
  • Unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Life expectancy
  • COVID-19 death
  • Criminal justice

Read the full article about challenges facing Black men by Richard V. Reeves, Sarah Nzau, and Ember Smith at Brookings.