Thursday, October 12, 2006

Saving the boys

The struggle of young African-American boys is in the consciousness a lot these days, especially for those of us who are addicted to HBO's The Wire.

This year's episodes, with typical great acting from the kids as well as adults, focus on a group of Baltimore boys struggling to get along in the culture of corner drug dealers, car theft, police surveillance, school and its attendant violence, and teachers, coaches, and other adults trying to make their lives better.
This amazing show also has a story line on the fictional Baltimore mayoral race and a candidate who 'still wakes up white in a black city', as well as the police who are trying to do their job unfettered by department politics.
Two former police from previous episodes are a new 8th grade teacher and a researcher trying to get a handle on violent kids.
Powerful stuff that will make you think hard about our culture.

So, the recent killing of a popular black teacher in Miami who mentored young black men, and subsequent arrest of a 17-year-old for the shooting, strikes a chord.

Leonard Pitts' column on the story, An Open Letter to the Killers of Mr. Lawrence, has run all over the country, including my daily paper, the Asheville Citizen Times, yesterday. Pitts:
In a very real sense, of course, it's a waste of time talking to you. You stood in the endless moment before the awful act, the moment when all things were still possible, and you made your decision. You pulled the trigger. You crossed a sacred line, and there's no going back.

But I find myself thinking about the young black men for whom there is still time, the ones who stand at that line but haven't crossed it yet, the ones who still live in the moment before, and thus, still have time to reclaim their futures, redeem their lives.

Stuck on the Palmetto discusses this story, too.



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