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America's Problem With Black Men and Boys

Employers must see themselves as part of the educational system and hire, train, and develop men of color.

President Barack Obama recently announced his administration's response to America's engagement problem with young men of color. Partnering foundations have pledged to raise $200 million for the "My Brother's Keeper" initiative. The funds will be used over the next five years to seek and seed programs and practices that improve outcomes for boys and young men of color. I, like many advocates, welcome this commitment.

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Psst, President Obama: Youth of Color Need More Than a Father to Succeed

"My Brother's Keeper" is no substitute for jobs, housing, and access to quality education and training.


Last week President Obama unveiled an initiative called "My Brother's Keeper" to address the systematic barriers to success faced by many young men of color. Reaction to the announcement was mixed, with some commending Obama for giving young black and Latino men a helping hand, while others pointed out the flawed logic endorsed by the President that "young men of color just need to 'work hard.'"

Using the bully pulpit to rally support and foundation dollars to help boys and young men of color succeed is laudable. The problem lies in trying to pass off moral speechifying as substantive action. "My Brother's Keeper" is no substitute for jobs, housing, and access to quality education and training, and it won't have any meaningful impact on the appalling racism and conditions of life in the inner cities faced by black and Latino youth. It's like a warm blanket. It's comforting when it's cold. But it's no replacement for having heat.

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On Mother's Day, Celebrate All Kinds of Mamas

These offbeat, customized e-cards give all mothers and families a chance to be visible.


Talk a walk down the Hallmark aisle of your local pharmacy this weekend, and you'll notice a common aesthetic: pink flowers, blue jays in flight, a blond mother being served breakfast in bed by her perfect little child and her perfect, Don Draper-esque husband. Like every other holiday, it tends to be overcommercialized and cutesy. It's often an idealized vision of motherhood that, more likely than not, is a different world from your reality. Your mom may be single. She may be queer or a woman of color. She may be poor, disabled, or incarcerated. She may be an activist or a professional caregiver. Or maybe you don't have a mother anymore, and you're sending love to another mom this year—your sister or your best friend or your aunt.

These myriad scenarios are why the Strong Families Initiative is celebrating "Mama's Day" with a custom e-card tool that gives all mothers and families a chance to be visible. The site provides eight offbeat, non-flowery templates by artists like Nikki McClure and Melanie Cervantes that feature motherhood in all its diversity, with space for you to write a personalized message and email to the mother of your choice.

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Osama's Last Wish? For His Children to Not Become Terrorists

A newly published will offers a glimpse of a different side of Bin Laden—that of a loving, regretful father.

When most people think of Osama bin Laden, they think of a bloodthirsty murderer hellbent on the destruction of practically the entire world. What they don't think of is a loving father. Nevertheless, Bin Laden spawned dozens of children in 54 years of life, and, if his reported last will and testament is to be believed, he loved them dearly.

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On Track for $1 Trillion: Student Loan Debt Greater Than Credit Card Debt

For the first time in history Americans owe more on their student loans than on their credit cards. That's going to make growing up hard.


Last June, for the first time in history, Americans owed more on their student loans, a record $833 billion, than on their credit cards, $826.5 billion. The amount owed on student loans increases at a rate of about $2,853.88 per second, meaning we're on track for total student debt to cross the $1 trillion mark sometime this year.

According to Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org and Fastweb.com, this increasing student debt has long term, macroeconomic implications for our society. He told NPR's Marketplace that the amount of money students owe—on average, $24,000—is usually repaid over a 20-year time frame, which means

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