Name: Donnell Hicks
Title: Save Our Youth (Part II)
Are our African-American youth natural born killers of the inner cities? Are they
foot soldiers for the drug man or are they silently crying out for someone to
take them by the hand and lead them to the promise land? Those are the questions along with plenty of other questions society is asking. What makes an African-American youth become criminals and victims of the prison systems?
There are plenty of integral factors that play a major role in how AA youths are centralized into incarceration. First, many AA youth are dealing with their drug infested neighborhood which plays a part in their lives. There are less community
outreach centers and less job opportunities which contribute greatly to a high
unemployment rate. The problem can start in their homes growing up with a single parent and without a positive male role model in their lives. In this case, a
youth will certainly rely on his/her peers for moral and social support and will look to drug dealers for complete guidance as father figures.
Second, society is filled with much more technology, media violence, and a self-destructive infatuation for name brand clothes. Those three enticements will absolutely lead a youth astray into the pit fall of incarceration. Given the socioeconomic status, the youth will try to do anything possible to have the “wants” not realizing the “wants” will only lead him/her down the road of destruction spending the rest of his/her life behind prison walls. African-Americans now constitute nearly one million of the 2.3 million incarcerated population. AA
youths are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.
African-Americans represent 26% of juvenile arrests where 44% of youth are detained and 58% of the youth are admitted into juvenile detention centers of state prisons. 2.6 million AA report using an illicit drug 10 times more than whites. And AA youths are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of whites (Source: www.naacp.org). The statistics are very astonishing given the fact AA youths are the first to experience the small end of the stick.
Thirdly, aggressive behavior a teen displays is another way he/she will become incarcerated. If a teen grows up in an abusive household, it is more than likely the teen will show some signs of aggressive behavior in school amongst his/her peers.
Education is another important factor that has languished in the mind of teens. Adults have always stressed, “Education is a gateway to a better future.” But unfortunately, many youth who are attending college and get a college degree are unable to find a job at the end of graduation. Some youth become depressed and angry to the point that they turn to the life of crime. A recent trend is that AA youth have become enticed with how these famous rappers live their lives amongst the fancy cars, the big houses, and expensive brands.
Nonetheless, African-American youth especially young black males are heading down a path of destruction living in high crime ridden inner cities with fewer opportunities to showcase their talents. They lack good male role models to teach them and mold them into being good productive citizens. An AA youth will certainly trade in anything to be the product of the inner city just to get by. Nonetheless, we must SAVE OUR YOUTH.