Namond’s world, by the numbers

There are some stark realities that kids growing up on the Baltimore streets must face. There are certain things that probably aren’t going to happen. And the probabilities are not glossed over on any level by the show writers. I also like seeing the numbers presented to me directly. Let’s start with this statistic:

Baltimore, Maryland, home of The Wire, was 65% Black in the year 2006. Whites make up 32% of the population.

With this in mind, I wonder what things will be like for Namond, our 9th grader from the show who is most likely to succeed in the modern world? Let’s look at a few things he will run up against (using a few Powerpoint slides). It’s still play or get played, man…

We love to put people in jail here in the USA:


If you are black and not in jail, there are opportunities for you in corporate America. They just aren’t as good as what the white people get. But on The Wire, we see Omar and Prop Joe with all that money. They’re just rolling in it! Who needs the corporate world when there is such a killing to be made on the West Side corners? Check it out:


Let’s say 9th grader Namond hangs in there and gets an education (and I have no idea what happens after episode 3). How is medical school looking as a career option?


Hang in there Namond!

I wonder if The Wire gives me any clues as to where Namond and his friends are more likely to end up in ten years. In 2004, it appears for all males of any age, blacks were 6.8 times more likely than whites to be in prison.


And looking at just black males age 25-29, well… damn, Namond. Too bad for your friends. It appears they are 7.5 times more likely to be in prison than white people.


And just for emphasis, that last slide also said 12.6 percent of all black males aged 25-29 were incarcerated for at least part of 2004.

So lets suppose Namond does make it through medical school. It appears he is less likely to be turning down patients for lack of resources. Way to go Namond!


Minorities are less likely to have health insurance coverage. They get less treatment. They die sooner. Here are some figures on just how many die sooner than the more well-insured white citizens of this fine nation. Maybe Namond can save them.

It is also less likely Namond will be working in those fancy hospitals that pop up close to affluent suburbs:


Let’s hope Namond’s patients don’t need a kidney transpant…


(all slides are from the Physicians for a National Health Program 2008 long slide set, except for the two on male incarceration rates, which are from the Prison Policy Initiative website)


1 Comment

  1. As somebody, maybe Kima would say, “That’s some bleak-ass shit”. And it is. Which, I think, is the point Simon is trying to make.

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