More black men in jail or college? An old “fact” revisited

We always hear about the disproportionate number of blacks in prison, but I’ve always wondered: how many are incarcerated and what does that really mean? What I didn’t realize is how difficult it is to pin down a precise number. I mean, true, it doesn’t take too much to find out that black men are incarcerated at a rate six and a half times higher than white men. That’s easily available through the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. But ever since the Justice Policy Institute released a report in 2002 stating that there were more black men in jail than college, people have just ran with the numbers. Continue reading

What would Marvin Gaye say about the number of black students at Berkeley High in AP classes?

black-student-classroom-hand-raised1This week, while I was at church, I heard the most disturbing bit of news from our pastor about Berkeley High (at one time called the most integrated high school in America): that Berkeley High, the school right down the street from my alma mater, only has one black student taking an AP class. Out of a school population of about 3,300 that is 31 percent black, this can’t be true, I thought to myself.

It immediately made me think of my own experience in high school where, like many other black students throughout this country, I felt like I was the only black student taking any advanced courses. Thinking back on it now, I don’t remember any of my AP classes having another black student in them. So it’s no surprise that Berkeley High is supposedly experiencing the same phenomenon. Continue reading

Journalism Experiment #3

I’ve been hearing a lot about how data visualizations are supposed to be the next wave of displaying information on the Web. I tend to agree with that thinking, mainly because when a bunch of information is presented in a graphically pleasing way, it makes you more engaged in what could have rather been just another boring set of data. So for my next journalism experiment, I thought I’d try to do my own data visualization. With so many free data visualization tools out there nowadays, why not? Continue reading