“It’s time for us to stop and redefine Black Power!” Jay-Z and Kanye West, “Murder to Excellence”, Watch The Throne. 2011.


“Not all the kids are Black”. This is the tweet I was hit with over the weekend after my DDR, “LITTLE BLACK BOYS ARE DISPOSABLE: WHY I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE FIRING OF JOE PATERNO” circulated like wildfire through the twitter-verse and the galaxy of Facebook. Another was “I just don’t want it to go there.” “Go where?” I responded.  I got no answer.

As far as I am concerned it has gone there.  It has gone all the way there, down the street, around the corner, and back again. How do we know if the victims of Sandusky are Black? How do we know they aren’t is probably a much better question?  The rumored story since this scandal broke has been Sandusky, while perhaps molesting kids of various ethnic backgrounds, had a fetish for black boys. Until I know different I will continue to assume that some of the victims were in fact African American. Does this mean I don’t care about the other victims? Hell no!!  This thing stinks from here to infinity. No child – regardless of their social backgrounds – should be subjected to sexual tyranny by an adult.  It’s sick, gross, and terribly heartbreaking that a gray-haired old man leveraged his power to fondle little children. How IRONIC is it that part of the mission for the Second Mile Program, founded by Sandusky in 1977, is to provide underprivileged kids with “positive human contact” and organized activities to promote self- confidence. There sure was human contact. Just not positive human contact.  Anyway, I also find it borderline insulting for someone to assume race has nothing to do with this issue. Sure it does! Just like class, status, and perhaps gender.  What about the little girls who were part of this program? Did anything happen to them or was it just the boys? Either way, it is morbidly disgusting!!

Why is it a problem when race is used as a lens to understand the issues of the world and the community? The Penn State tragedy happens within a broader sociocultural context whether one wants to admit it or not.  It’s a jagged – a very jagged – little pill to swallow. My cynical remark that little black boys are disposable is made within this reality along with the weightless rhetoric that we live in a post-racial America where blackness is an afterthought; a concept of centuries before that has no place in 21st-century commentary. To say that race has no place in this Penn State BS is to say that the stark racial disparities in the population of incarcerated youth are irrelevant.  According to ChildTrendsDataBank.org,  among the estimated 778,200 young adults ages 18 to 29 who were incarcerated during 2009, 40% (314,100) were African-American. Among men, a higher proportion of Blacks are incarcerated at any age than are men of other races.  In 2009, among men ages 20 to 24, 9.8 percent of Blacks were incarcerated, followed by 3.7 percent of Hispanics and 1.6 percent of whites.

The DDR: Why is this important? Because the American Psychological Association reported men who have been abused are more commonly seen in the criminal justice system than in clinical mental health settings. I can go on and on with the statistics, but I won’t because I hope my point is clear: RACE MATTERS in this situation. So I apologize if I have offended anyone. But I will not apologize for bringing to the forefront this inconvenient truth.  Until I know otherwise, Black children were part of this Nittany Lion madness. Even if it’s just one Black boy that’s one Black boy too many. Enjoy your Monday.

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  1. Gwen Rogers says:

    The racial and class disparites of the victims are certainly an “inconvenient truth” of this tragedy. It is not surprising that this conversation has not been brought to the forefront during the media’s coverage. The media seems to be more concerned with the superfical issue of Penn State’s football legacy then the trauma caused to the victims who were as young as 8 years old. The lens is definitely out of focus on this issue, and it is more evident that post racial myths and fear of class warfare have more to do with this than the majority is willing to admit.

  2. Peace and much Respect, great article and excellent point Dr. Joyce!
    If we are HONEST with ourselves, we will acknowledge that RACE MATTERS in almost EVERY aspect of this country; there are SEVERAL studies that verify this fact in various aspects of life… This horrible situation with Penn State is PROFOUNDLY racial; we couldn’t even IMAGINE this situation happening with a Black coach, raping and abusing little white boys, let alone it happening for over 20 years, the MAJORITY of AMERICANS would DEMANDED swift action in putting those Blackmen UNDER the jail or worse!…The sad truth is that BLACK BOYS ARE DISPOSABLE… even to Black men and women, which is why WE allow, turn a blind eye and even co-sign on a lot of the self destructive NONSENSE that we see Black boys in engaged in on a DAILY basis!…Unfortunately, HOW we keep Black boys from being disposable is a topic that MOST people would rather NOT discuss, which is one of the reasons WHY the race of the Penn State victims are NOT being talked about in the mainsteam media, who really CARES about Black boys?! … I sincerely HOPE the Black media pursues this situation, gets ALL the facts and are COURAGEOUS enough to make RACE a part of the conversation, MAYBE then we can begin to have REAL dialogue about WHY this tragedy happened and continues to happen to Black boys, Word!

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