'Gangster lifestyle': Louisiana's homicide rate for young black men 'alarming'

Posted in the Jeanerette Forum

MARK TRAINA

Slidell, LA

#1 Feb 10, 2013
'Gangster lifestyle': Louisiana's homicide rate for young black men 'alarming'

Written by

MIKE HASTEN

Gannett Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La.— National studies have found that young black males in Louisiana are 20 times more likely to be homicide victims by age 24 than any other race in the state.

But like the rest of the population, the primary cause of death for black males younger than 15 is accidents. And after age 35, the causes of death for black men mostly align with the rest of the population, with heart attacks being the primary culprit.

Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other sources show homicide far exceeds any other causes of death for black men ages 15 through 35. One report shows homicide rates more than twice as high as accidental deaths for black males ages 15 through 19.

A 2009 national report shows Louisiana ranked fourth in the nation in the per-capita homicide rate for black males.

The national average was 898.22 per 100,000 residents, but Louisiana’s rate was 1,044.35 per 100,000 — more than 1 of every 100.

Oklahoma was highest with 1,093.96, followed by Mississippi with 1,065.46 and Arkansas with 1,045.06 per 100,000.

For all races, Louisiana ranked sixth in the nation with 903.75 homicides per 100,000 residents.

The reasons for the high homicide rate among young black men vary, said Jimmy McJamerson, Grambling State University retired history professor, and Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, D-Baton Rouge. Broome chairs the Louisiana Commission on Marriage and Family, which received a report on deaths.

“It is very alarming,” Broome said.“The high mortality rate among African-American men could be attributed to several reasons.”

McJamerson agreed but said the reasons boil down to a few basic causes.

Topping the list is that too many young black men imitate the “gangster lifestyle,” idolizing rappers who portray themselves as tough thugs who carry guns.
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