Growing up I was always told to keep my nose clean and stay out of trouble. Well this morning I learn the true reason behind that analogy.
When I think about our young black men today, it’s easy to say lock them up and throw away the key, but sometimes it’s not worth it to place labels in order for kids to learn a lesson. Many of these kids just need a responsible male or female figure to talk to- meaning a positive adult who has lived a totally different life than themselves, and can convince them to dream and see beyond their situation or circumstances.
There is no one solution to why the African American male incarceration rate has become such a hot topic. Guns, gangs, peer pressure, sum it up however you want, but America is facing a crisis that is getting worst everyday. For sure our local and state government are a good place to start, but that’s not the only answer. Family, community and individuals have far more reach and control over many situations.
This morning a co-worker told me that she was tired because she had been up all night, was hungry and didn’t have money to stop on the way to work to get food. Then she explained why- she said her husband got arrested over night and she and family were up all night trying to get money together for the bail.
She then explained that the husband was stopped for a taillight out in his car. There after the policeman asked him to step out where he searched the car and found an unregistered gun. She goes further to say she knew about the gun, but never thought it would cause this kind of problem.
After listening to her, I didn’t have cash on me, but I did have a couple of food items that could possibly tide her over for the day. Thereafter I told her I’m praying for her and left.
Judgment of today’s generation has reached an all time high. I can blame him for his troubles all day long, but it doesn’t fix the problem. Yes I’m sure that he and the wife know right from wrong and that there are consequences when we break laws, but perhaps he had the gun because he lives in a dangerous neighborhood and wanted to protect himself and his family, a good reason why she went along with it for him to keep the gun.
What I meant to ask was the effect this situation was having on their 8 -year old daughter. I know she’s asking questions and when daddy doesn’t come to the bus stop to pick her up, or will have to possibly serve time in jail, what are her plans for dealing with those situations? But not to appear as if I was prying, I felt better by keeping my mouth shut because foremost it was none of my business.
In my mind he had options- why not go to the store and purchase a gun like everyone else does? At least it’s legal and if there are problems with law enforcement, he can present the paperwork and be on his way.
What this family is going thru is the reality that we live in today. A lot of families are finding themselves trapped. Unfortunately many of our young black men today have this twisted reality that a gun solves all their problems. So yes he was wrong for having the gun, but it makes me ask -who do we blame for our bad neighborhoods and communities? Is it fair to blame the young men themselves? That they should know better? That they should be more responsible and make better choices?
Growing up as an African American male in a single mother household, my life was pretty sheltered, but for many African American males, depending on where they live, they may only see bad examples of what a man should be. They may only see negative stereotypes of what Father’s do and don’t do, not to mention what the mother may say because the father is not around and fails to pay child support.
In These moments where we rush to judgment, find fault for our bad decisions, our surroundings and environments, many of us never look to see the whole picture, just the end results.
None of us are perfect. We all have a story and there are two sides to everything. We have to be careful when we pass judgment. It might be a life or death issue that people are dealing with and we should be sensitive to that. It’s important that we not be to quick to judge or completely give up on our young black boys and men without knowing the entire story. As the saying goes, you never know what a man is going through until you walk a mile in his shoes.