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Social Issues: Letters

From: Ross Olson [mailto:ross{at}]
Sent: Friday, January 11, 2002 9:06 AM
To: Editor Star Tribune
Subject: Young Black Men

A study of young black men in Hennepin County tried to discover the causes and cures of that group's well-known woes ("Troubling Trends Exist for County's Young Black Men.") There were some notable omissions in both the analysis and the recommendations. Although it was acknowledged that 47% were being raised by single mothers, that political hot potato was not touched any further. And nowhere did I see even a hint of interest in the place of those most unmentionable of variables -- religion, faith and church.

This is an incredible oversight when fatherlessness and lack of a sense of accountability to God are both clearly correlated with crime and prison (not to mention drugs and lack of direction in life.) But this blindness has not been a recent phenomenon.

When my kids were in school in the 1980's, I tried to steer the sex education programs towards emphasizing abstinence until faithful marriage. I was told both that "marriage is an instrument of male domination" and "we cannot say that one way is better than another." During that time, even though there were school-sponsored programs teaching yoga as a road to health, Christian students were forbidden to wear any item of clothing that might be considered to represent their faith. At one high school, students praying around the flag pole were mocked by school staff.

Is it any wonder that we have problems? Is there any hope that cosmetic changes in housing or income will make any impact?

Ross S. Olson MD

Send comments to me at ross{at}

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