Writer’s Name: Charlotte Marshall Templeman
Title: Boys to Men
Across this country in many urban cities there are little African American boys growing up too fast. Many are being raised in single parent homes without the guidance of a strong man to direct them; so ultimately they turn to other resources to learn how to be men. Unfortunately what they are learning is not correct and thus they become mis-educated on what makes a boy a man. When this happens we have a generation of boys committing crimes, dropping out of high school and becoming incarcerated. How do we save them?
Recently in Philadelphia there was an altercation on the subway system which led to the shootings of two innocent young people. The perpetrator got into a fight with another young man and fired his gun into a subway filled with students coming home from school. According to the news, the argument was between two high school rival gangs. Of course this caused mayhem on the public transit system which at the time was at the peak of many students riding it home. For several days the police searched for this person and eventually he turned himself in under the guidance of his parent.
The incident was a sad but all too common reality of what many young people face today in our urban cities. However, what is even sadder is the perpetrator was a fifteen year old young man. Since he has been in custody it has been learned that he will be charged as an adult and he faces many charges. His bail was set at a million dollars, so we all know he still sits in prison. As I watched the news and listened to the story I wondered where it went wrong for him. When did he decide that life the wrong way was the right way? Unfortunately because of his behavior he will more than likely spend many years in jail. It saddens me because no one knows what this young man could have become, but now we will never know.
As I walk within my community I often see many young men standing around doing nothing. Attending school is for nerds they think and education is something not needed. Most feel that making fast money takes precedence over getting an education. For those that do attend school, they feel they have to be the student who takes education lightly. This is seen by those who cut class, are the class clown or the disrespectful student who makes it hard for anyone else to learn. Ultimately the young man will become not only a menace to his school community but to his home community as well. When this happens we have incidents like the one which occurred on the subway that resulted in a young man whose life will forever be changed by his actions and the two victims who have to live with their injuries.
Some African American boys have declared war on other black boys. We see often in the news that they are dying rapidly at the hands of each other. If this behavior continues within our communities who will be left to become men and father children in order for us as a people to not become obsolete? Young black boys have to realize that committing genocide on each other will eventually affect our existence. We have to teach them the importance from birth how valued and needed they are. Education has to be seen as a necessity and not an option in our homes. Instead of violent movies, video games and music videos playing, books in the home need to be present and read. In conjunction to those things we have to surround our boys with positive role models. Young African American boys need to see black men taking care of their families, going to work every day, being respectful of one another and always embracing education and seeking knowledge. This is imperative to the growth of our boys becoming men. In order for us to have a place as a people on this earth for years to come we have to save our boys. They are the root to the existence of our race. Making a lifelong investment in them is assuring we will have a place on this earth for years to come.