TSU Holds National Conversation on Young Black Males and Violence
By Victoria Gourdin
Meter Staff Writer
Trayvon Martin’s murder several years ago is very well known and a prime example of unnecessary violence against black men, regardless of age. Another example is the 12-year-old who was playing with a toy gun and brutally shot and killed.
Black parents everywhere teach their children how to respectfully interact with the police. Many fear that their child will be next. While not all officers have the same mindset, it is almost like the odds are stacked against this generation’s black youth.
So are we dealing with bad boys or bad odds? That is a question that was discussed during the April 23 conference on violence against young black males held at TSU.
While some may feel that it is hopeless, there are changes being made that may help. The possession of a certain amount of marijuana is being changed from a felony to a misdemeanor. This will help keep black youth out of jail because “marijuana and other drugs are being fed into the community,” said one of the students who attended the conference.
Also, jail time follows a person for his entire life. One of the attendees spoke on a time in his life where he made mistakes as a young boy. Now, as a man he has problems finding and keeping a job because of a bad decision, but “it doesn’t matter what the crime was; but the fact that there is a criminal charge next to your name carries weight.”
There are plenty of things that can help keep negativity off the TSU campus. And the community also plays a large role in that positive success.
According to one of the discussion leaders, “people are naturally inclined to hate the object of their pain [and] the object of our pain is being black.” Many people are comfortable in their own skin, but it can be very difficult to be a black person especially now.
However, building a strong community with many different resources is pivotal. A positive community breeds positive people who can communicate with each other and help reach back to the young. The students who attended offered personal advice on how they could make the TSU community a positive one.
One suggestion was to be involved in campus activities and get to know your peers. Also, during freshman orientation, there was a lot of discussion about TSU’s history but not enough talk about the positive aspects of the campus.
During the conference, it was also suggested that students and faculty should speak up instead of keeping quiet if there are problems on the campus.
In order for change to happen, the first steps start with you. Know who you are first and then you will know what to do.