There is some good news about African American males! A recent article by Ivory A. Toldston, Ph.D. on The Root website dispels a pervasive belief—that there are more black men in prison than in college. He asserts that the basis for this accepted falsehood began about 13 years ago by the Justice Policy Institute (JPI)—that there were more black men in prison than in college. The JPI’s 2000 report, “Cellblocks or Classrooms” concluded, “Nearly a third more African-American men are incarcerated than in higher education.” However, the facts don’t support this claim.
According to Toldston, there are about 600,000 more black men in college than in jail, and he cites evidence that the long-held belief was never true. The data show that there was actually a 108.5 percent increase in black male college enrollment from 2001 to 2011—from 693,044 in 2001 to 1,445,194 in 2011. He further asserts that many colleges and universities—including some HBCUs—did not report population data to the JPI in 2001. In 2011, the University of Phoenix enrolls the largest number of black male students, and Ashford University has the second largest number of black male students. Toldston points out that black males are “underrepresented at competitive universities like Rutgers and overrepresented at community college and online universities.”
While we must strive to improve the numbers of black men enrolled in more rigorous college programs in addition to their participation in for-profit and community colleges, it is gratifying to learn that this belief is false.
Here is a clip from Roland Martin on TV One that addresses the fallacy of this long-held belief: