If the White House had relied on data to drive policy, My Brother’s Keeper should have included both genders, said a February report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), another think tank. The institute reviewed 114 data-based assertions made in a White House interim report on My Brother’s Keeper and found that only nine of them highlighted cases in which black boys were worse off than black girls. Most of the data actually showed that communities of color, regardless of gender, fare worse than white communities.
The analysis wouldn’t be so damning except that Obama and his staff have proudly declared that My Brother’s Keeper is based on a dispassionate review of the evidence. In reality, federal officials chose to disregard the evidence out of political expedience, says Heidi Hartmann, who heads the IWPR. She argues that My Brother’s Keeper “hits the political sweet spot” by placating some minority advocates as well as conservatives who perceive black boys as “dangerous.” My Brother’s Keeper “doesn’t say the problem is racism [or that] the problem is communitywide,” Hartmann says. “This program says the problem is the black boys and we are going to fix them.”