As I think about the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old young African-American male, who lived in the state of Florida. I reflect on the fact that I am a mother of a young African-American male, with this in mind this tragedy affects me indirectly. Trayvon Martin walking alone the streets of Florida, dressed with a Hood on, with a bag of skittles and drinking on a ice tea, might have been thinking how wonderful it is to be alive, or what a beautiful day it is. Who knows what was going on in his mind. Did he ever think this would be his last day on earth? I doubt it.
It’s disturbing to know that Mr. Martin lost his life due to the perception of his shooter, with no questions asked, but these questions come to my mind. What are the perceptions of African-American males in America and our local communities? How can we change the negative perceptions into a positive perception? One thing I found to be a fact of African-American males from the communities I have been apart of and where I have visit, is that most of them are perceived as thugs. According to Dictionary. com (2012) thugs are defined as, “a cruel vicious ruffian, robber, or murder.
One of a former group of professional murders and robbers. A tough and violent man. ” While this maybe true accusation for some, I believe it is false for many. Many males growing up in the hood or the ghetto develops many types of behaviors that are considered to be suitable amongst their peers. Survival is the name of the game. Most young Afro-American males are left to themselves with no apparent father- figure to shape their image of who they are and who they must become. So they take on the nature of their environment.
Another negative perception that is associated with the African-American male is the irresponsibility of being a father. Once again, this maybe true for some and false for others. We as a community must teach our young African-American males the responsibility of taking care of their children, whether they are in the home with them, or not in the home with them. Children are an assignment according to “Bible. Com”,(1995-2011), “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4.
Each child has a purpose to fulfill. In order for them to be the best they can be young men need to search out your purpose as a parent and commit to raising a responsible kid, teaching them how to have manners, controlling their behaviors, and definitely teaching them how to dress. Dress for success is a common statement in America. In the African-American community from a very young age young men are taught to dress with style. Because clothing is a very important part of who you are. It is away to express your manhood, and depending on the style it puts you in a certain class.
A class that proclaims no punks here; however African-American males are perceived in a negative way with the when their pants are hanging down, tattoos all over their body, and with gold in their mouth. I spoke with one young lady by the name of Jwanna King-Gray, who is the mother of two young black Afro-American male and I asked her what did she think about the Trayvon Martin issue she stated, “I am not the one to stereotype people, but young men of color have to be cautions of how they dress. I am not really a fan of Hoody.
Because of the way it is in America these young need to be aware of their surroundings and their appearance. I tell my sons this all the time. I am really upset about the pants hanging off the behind. ”(Jwanna King-Gray 2012, personal communication, April 2, 2012). Could Trayvon’s life have been saved, if he took off his hood prior to walking through this neighbor? Was he killed because he looked suspicious? Or was it Racial Profiling? In my opinion, I believe he was killed simply because of the color of his skin.
He was dressed in that all black attire. With all the negative perceptions that are prevalent against a black male, I conclude that we as a race and community must gain some knowledge, wisdom and understanding on how to forcefully and with love change the mindset of our young men. Once they understand the Creator God, and the image he has already set in place. The young black male must begin to mirror this image on the outside, in their conversations, in the way they dress, how they raise their kids, on their jobs, and in their relationships.
There is a quote in the Holy Bible that states, “So God created man in his own image, the image of God created he him male and female created he them. ”(p. 1). When our young men begin to think this way about themselves they will have respect for themselves and gain the respect of others. Young black men we need you! We need you in our homes and in our churches! So rise and shine, change your posture and your position!
Courtney from Study Moose
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