It shouldn’t be, but the sad fact it is dangerous to be a young Black male in the eyes of too many police officers and too many other young Black men. Police brutality goes waaaaaaay back for us and the Black on Black crime has been skyrocketing since the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Gangs sprouted up like wild flowers after his assassination. I truly believe the Black Power movement created a new type of energy in the Black community and from that energy, gangs sprouted up. The gangs adopted some of that mentality but over time they twisted the ideas of the Black Power movement with a destructive force that was no longer just about protecting our own and providing for our own. This destructive force grew and self hate for other Black men grew out of it as we were so caught up in protecting our own territory. Black boys are living by any means necessary and it sad that the negative stereotype is following them from the street jungle to interactions with others, especially the police. A few more years pass and the destructive hardcore rap hit the airwaves and kids all across the country started to hear the same destructive messages by too many negative voices.
Today we as Black men too often exemplify the negative stereotype and because of that we as African Americans fear other African Americans and Whites fear the actions of African American men and other races fear the potential actions of African American men. Many of these stereotypes have been developed by repeated negative images that come across the news. The news have never highlighted the professionals, the successful, the humble, the hard working, and the family oriented in the way they highlight the destructive images. News have created a truth and lie. The truth of the matter is that many of us are committing crimes and the lie is that the news makes it appear that all of us participate in destructive lifestyles.
“It shouldn’t be dangerous to be a young Black male” (BUT IT IS). It shouldn’t be dangerous in our communities and it definitely shouldn’t be dangerous when it comes those who are there to protect and to serve us.
I volunteer and mentor as much as I can to youth and I wish that every Black man and Black woman who feels any anger from police shootings of young Black men to take it upon themselves to fight Black on Black crime just like they fight the police shootings. I hope each Black person with any anger in them will take it upon themselves to mentor and to tutor so we can fight the lack of education and the failing schools that fail Black boys and girls more than anyone else just like they want to step up and fight the police shootings. I hope each angry Black person will take it upon themselves to fight for a stronger family structure, a stronger business community, and a stronger community just like they would fight and protest against the police shootings.
Brian K. Rice