chefo wrote:My perspective as a (white) guy who has had quite a few interactions with the decent folk in one of my city's really rough black neighborhoods through charity work. It's a lose, lose, really, and a human tragedy on a massive scale, and Orlando is nowhere near the level of violence of south Chicago, Baltimore or East LA.
Down here, you see local pastors, businessmen and many others of the Black community hustle like crazy to get a just few boys on the right track. At the same time, the local Bloods and Crips recruit middle-schoolers by the dozens every year, and do drive by shootings, armed car-jackings and beatings of random strangers as initiations. The Magic try to get players and staff to mentor kids in the ghetto. They are barely making a dent. My family worked with a kid who had been to Juvie three times before he had turned 14. Bright kid, but kept horrible company, mom was a non-functioning junkie and dad was in and out of jail throughout his whole childhood. He was smart enough to understand that the path he was headed, he'd either be dead or in prison for life, so with a little help, he managed to get his priorities straight and now has graduated high-school and is joining the army.
Just to make clear--these are problems ubiquitous to the urban black community even in a nice area like Central Florida. The 'resource officer', who is the armed cop on duty at the school my wife used to work at, a middle-aged black man, had almost no sympathy for these boys because every other day he had to drag somebody off to the precinct for dealing or mass fights. He called them punks and much worse. The black senior staff at the school did not care much for them either, and said it would be a miracle if they managed to get many of them out of middle school. Many couldn't read or write by 6th-7th grade, some already had kids. Somebody told me that 80% of the black kids in the school were from single parent family (read single mom), and a quarter were technically considered homeless. And at some point, the county instituted a ridiculous policy where to 'equalize' the rate at which black and other ethnicities were kicked out of school, many 'one-time' offenses like being caught with drugs on campus, or assault, were no longer enough for an expulsion. Which then promptly increased the actual number of transgressions and led to teachers literally being threatened by students because the kids sensed that they had the leverage on the staff. My wife left a year later, a year before her pension vested, after a student with documented violent history threatened to kill her in writing and the administrative staff did not even expel him. Crazily enough, the threat was enough for us to press charges (we didn't), but not enough for expulsion.
The boy we mentored simply said that in the hood you have to be hyper aggressive or else you're at the bottom of the food chain, and you'll get robbed, bullied and worse. It's really not a choice--but that creates a whole generation of urban black youth who are used to settling every dispute with fists, knifes and guns and who see the law being broken in their community all the time and that as being the status quo.
Combine that with the fact that cops usually come from the tail end of the curve in terms of aggressiveness and the desire to dominate through power, and you've got a no-win situation for everybody involved because they get to constantly interact with hyper-aggressive young men. And I really don't know how you fix that. To me, the solutions are probably so comprehensive in nature, both in the changing the policing and in trying to change the culture of youth violence, that they border on impossible to implement.
An officer I know, one of the nicest guys I've ever met, BTW, once told me that when in crisis, the only thoughts in your head are how to make sure you get home alive. He patrolled Disney much of the time, but patrolling the ghetto made him nervous as hell. His point was--when most of the violent crime in an entire city of a couple of million is committed in a 2x2 mile square, you as a cop know it because you live it every day so they are probably extra nervous and trigger happy because of the stress.
Anyhow, my limited and anecdotal perspective--when you put two hyper aggressive groups together, both of which are used to resolving conflict through force, you'll get violence and that to me looks like an unavoidable and really sad consequence.
Thanks for sharing that. It's a massive problem. We really need something like a Marshall Plan for our inner cities. LBJ had a war on poverty, that got derailed by the Vietnam War. We need something like that again- a massive investment in these communities to break the ugly cycle of violence and poverty. If we can afford to spend 150 million dollars on a single jet fighter plane, we can afford to address this.
Take once less fighter jet, and give positive volunteer pre-approved role models a $2000 tax break for time spent, with so many required hours a month. You instantly get 75,000 volunteers, and I bet you would see a big change. The kids in the most need, just need to be exposed to the outside world, and see there is another way out.
In a scenario like this, I think race should be considered in choosing specifically matched at risk youth with positive role models who have similar ancestry. Forward thinking programs like this could make a huge difference, in all the impoverished communities.
As a white guy, I was also unaware of the loans I was eligible for until I walked myself onto a college campus, and a Black Female admission counselor told me first hand all the college grants and loans I could apply for and possibly get.
"For those who don't know, or did not go through this yourself: Grants are free education money you don't pay back, Loans are money you pay back".
I was working at the time, and occasionally would get checks in the mail. Instead of cashing them in and being stupid, I used those extra funds to help pay off my growing college loan debt to keep them as low as possible up until I graduated.
It took me 8 years to eventually finish it all up start to finish. But I was set in a solid paying job several years before my final graduation date. In the final two years I was just taking one class at a time until I finished up. I purchased my first house about 6 months before I even graduated.
Here is a pretty picture of my pup and I sitting in my backyard after graduation in front of a lilac bush, and lots of hard work to get to this point in life.
And here is what being a Bulls fan for all these years though Pax's leadership, and also Covid-19 Home Isolation can do to what was once a young man over 20 years later (lol). By the time AK is done some of you youngsters out there may look as old as me.
And that shirt I wore in the first pic, it's still in my closet! And may be older than a few of you here. Same guy, about 23 years later.