Decline in Teenage Birth Rates, Tobacco Use Offer Blacks Hope for the Future, Columnist Writes
A recent decline in teenage pregnancy among blacks in the Washington, D.C., area indicates that "black America is gearing up to overcome" other racial health and economic disparities, Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy writes.
Black teenagers nationwide also have lower rates of tobacco use than other teenagers, and the number of black high school and college graduates "continues to rise," according to Milloy. In addition, CDC reports that blacks "are making gains against heart disease, breast cancer and infant mortality," adding, "Nothing particularly earth-shattering. But it's progress -- a quiet, almost imperceptible transformation that is all too easily overlooked," Milloy adds.
The findings do not "mean that life for black Americans is just one big jack-o'-lantern full of Hershey's Kisses," Milloy writes, adding, "Poverty, racism, crime and disease continue to have a devastating effect on black Americans."
However, black teens "will surely be rewarded" for avoiding smoking, having fewer pregnancies and completing school, Milloy writes. He says, "Imagine the future as they continue on this path: Educational achievement skyrockets. Stable black families become the norm again. Crime and poverty go down. Income and sense of well-being go up." He concludes, "What a treat that would be" (Milloy, Washington Post, 10/31).