Black people love “statistics”.
I haven’t done my own scientific study nor do I currently possess empirical data to support this, but I am convinced that this is the case…and that the media has gotten ahold of this “theory” as well.
How else can you explain the way that the release of “statistics” – especially the “findings” that paint a bleak picture for Black Americans – solicits such passionate, sweeping responses that inundate social media?
(Yes, I do love to use quotation marks in a mockingly fashion…I also make the hand gesture most would recognize as “quote/unquote” in my head 100% of the time that I write quotation marks. Sue me.)
There are seven times as many Black men in prison than White men, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation
42% of Black women have never been married, according to a study by Yale
72% of Black children are born out of wedlock, according to the Center for Disease Control
These are just a few of the endless “statistics” that folks toss out in one form or another when it comes to Black relationships, Black financial stability, Black educational achievement, etc. I understand the seriousness of the numbers, but I am always amazed at how quickly folks can toss them out as if they themselves discovered the “findings”.
The “jump the shark” moment in terms of Black people and statistics, though, had to have been when Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa (“Who!?” Right…) released his findings of the “study”, “Why Are African-American Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?” on the website, Psychology Today.
I’ll admit – I didn’t read the “study”. I didn’t need to. Why not, you ask?
BECAUSE I WILL NEVER EVER BELIEVE A “STUDY” THAT “FINDS” SUCH A THING!
Yet, I go on Facebook and Twitter, etc. and see friends, associates, etc. that have multiple masters and doctorate degrees entertaining that nonsense by voicing their outrage and, WORSE, sharing the link to the hot garbage. Sure, it’s worthy of a “Girl, you’re not gonna believe this sh*t!” or two, but do you know what forwarding others to read the article did?
Two things. One, it served as another kick in the pants to those that believe any and all “statistics” (the same people who forward posts about Facebook beginning to charge a monthly fee). It also also delivered more money through online advertising revenue thanks to the bump in traffic the website received during the time “study” was available on the website – a website that, according to my straw poll, 99.9% of my outraged friends never visited before nor have visited again since May 15th when the article was posted.
That’s with a +/- 2% margin for error on those findings.
While it’s my opinion that most Black people – as well as any person with a normal functioning brain – saw the “study” for the bullsh*t that it was, I was at a local talk show just this past weekend and a woman who was “well educated” (her own words) mentioned this very “study” (along with four other “statistics”) as to why it is harder for Black women to be viewed as attractive to White men during the topic discussion of “Is It Black Men’s Fault That Black Women are Choosing to Date and Marry White Men?”
I’m not making this up…but that’s another rant for another day.
To get back on topic, has such a large percentage of Black people attained such high levels of “book smarts”, as my grandmother would say, that we have placed common sense as well as the ability to think for ourselves on the back burner? I am blessed to know a lot of Black people that are extremely knowledgeable and that have attained great academic achievements…yet, I want to drive my head into a wall of bricks when they so matter-of-factly regurgitate these media force fed “statistics” into conversation when talking about the plight of Black America, their single friends, or their single selves.
I often ask, “…but how does this ‘statistic’ affect you?”
How do you choose to allow these “statistics” to determine your future?
Will it handicap you or will you, instead, choose to not become a “statistic”?
Johnny J. Jones is a married, college-educated Black man who wants to see everyone – of any color – become as great as they truly believe they can be. Check out more about Johnny at http://about.me/johnny.j.jones.