Young, Black, and Struggling

The following is an entry based upon an article in Black Youth Project entitled The Power of Flash Mobs: You cannot police hopelessness and despair!!!

When black youth screw up, the faces of those involved become the poster children for what’s wrong with young black people. They are transformed in the public eye from invisible to public threat, and fear becomes the reaction when we see crowds of black youth, males in particular. When that happens, and it happens a lot more than we care to realize, some people will attribute this to the dysfunction of black culture caused by none other than blacks themselves. The usual solution to counter black youth’s social failures is always the political conclusion of putting more police in the streets and, of course, more prisons and “correctional” facilities.

At first it may sound like the best solution, but it seems like society always cry for justice after it’s too late not just for the victims and their families, but for the criminals and their families as well. For young blacks who are housed in juvenile and adult prisons across the nation, it may have been too late for them long before they are even convicted.

In cities, towns, and poor neighborhoods across this nation there are some black youth who are struggling in the streets. The ones who are seemingly trapped within areas plagued by crime, violence, drugs, and unemployment must do whatever it takes to live as many days as possible because some believe they will not make it past their 25th birthday. They were born and raised in chaotic homes and(or) environments. They are given poor education, and treated worse in schools unable or unwilling to prepare, nurture, and uplift them, and they are unable to obtain reasonable (if any) employment. So, black youths in these areas of the country are taught that their lives don’t matter, and that their voices mean nothing. They are taught they are bad people, and are given prophecies that they will either end up in prison, in the hospital, or in the grave.  

Think about it: How many times have you heard an adult, mostly from the parent(s) refer to a black child as ‘bad’? Should we act surprised or disappointed when that same child fails and ends up behind bars? We shouldn’t. After all, most people see young blacks as future criminals, and if we treat them as such, there’s a good chance they will eventually become criminals.

Positive influences concerning black children are at a premium in the mainstream. Positive news about black youth in general are hard to find anywhere. They live in a world where their skin equates a potential failure to society according to the public, another example of society’s inferiority campaign against blacks. The younger generations don’t see any future for themselves. They don’t see hope, and when they cry out, the public in general prefers to ignore it unless their cry is accompanied with violence and death.

Then, we listen…but it’s too late. The young person is swept into the “justice” system and is marked for life as a criminal.

How can you tell a young black kid that drugs and violence is not the answer if they need them to survive in a world few people understand? How can you tell a young black kid to stay in school if they are treated like thugs, and are processed through a shoddy educational system this nation seems to care little about? How can you tell a young black kid to get a job if companies come up with more excuses not to hire them than they can for hiring them?

How can you tell a young black kid that their lives matter, when they are surrounded with words and images telling them otherwise?


2 thoughts on “Young, Black, and Struggling

  1. Very strong message. I too have been guilty of thinking the same thing about our black youth. I remember how my whole neighborhood looked out for us when I was growing up in Queens. My parents gave me a lot of freedom but I had a lot of rules growing up too. The 70’s were a different time then because Black people were still trying to find their identity and culture. Things have gotten worse for this country because of greed and drugs but the black community is feeling it more. After 40 years of hope (60’s – Now) it seems we’ve just given up thinking this country will never change. Racism is still a major force in the US but we have also squandered opportunities too as a people. After reading some of the many Slave Narratives it shocked me hear some of the same mentality from our youth and political leaders (mostly white). I think the message from past civil rights leaders have been lost. This has allowed the country to try and turn back the clock and the effect on your youth is showing.

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