Home » Life In General » Some of My Best Friends Are Black

Some of My Best Friends Are Black

I don’t know if it’s age, my increased news watching, paranoia or a combination of all three but I think I am officially scared of young black men.

A student at one of the local colleges was kidnapped the other day by four young black men.  They forced her into her car, told her to drive somewhere and told her they were going to rape her.  God’s grace was surely with her – she hit another car to draw attention to herself and the two criminals that were in the car with her grabbed her purse and jumped into another car that the other two criminals were driving.  They then went on a shopping spree with her credit cards at a local mall – where they were caught on surveillance video.  One of the culprits has turned himself in.  He is 16.  Sixteen y’all.  I can’t imagine that his buddies are too much older.  They’re all black.

When I watch the local news?  Nearly all the perpetrators “highlighted” in the most wanted portion of the program are black.

I don’t like going to/being in Jackson after dark.  I hate going to the ATM at any time.  I’m surprised I haven’t hurt Lovegirl rushing and pushing her to get in the car so that I can get the doors locked so we can get to getting.

I used to jump defensive when I heard white people say they were leaving Jackson, wouldn’t dare go to Jackson at night, etc., etc.  I’d be the first to say there’s crime everywhere.  And that remains true.  But if I look at the crime situation with an unbiased eye, I have to admit that most of the crimes committed in the area are committed by young black men.  This saddens and frightens me.

I feel horrible – and slightly guilty – for feeling this way.  I’ve got three brothers, a wondeful father, a host of uncles and cousins, friends who are black, male, and upstanding citizens.  But if I said I didn’t side eye every group of young black men I see, move a little quicker when in certain parts of town, or avoid them altogether?  I’d be lying.

When I found out I was pregnant, I didn’t care if I was having a boy or a girl, really made me not a bit of difference.  But right now, today, I am especially glad to be raising a girl.  I realize that brings its own set of trials, but I just cannot imagine raising a son in these times.

Just putting it out there.  Thoughts?

20 thoughts on “Some of My Best Friends Are Black

  1. I have often sheepishly joked that I am scared of my own people. And I am ashamed to admit that I am scared of younger black men, especially if they are somewhat dressed “thugged out”. Much like you I feel very guilty as I have a daddy, brother and a husband. But I have to say that my baby brother has always been sort of a clotheshorse anyway who never got into the baggy clothes look. But I feel bad that I am no worse than white people with my stereotyping. And I feel even worse when my sterotyping is proven right.

  2. I mirror some of your feelings. But I don’t harbor the guilt. Sure not ALL black males are criminals, but there is a grain of truth to every sterotype. Like you said, you would be foolish to ignore what you see on the news. But make sure you don’t take your guard down around everybody else. It’s unfortunate on all levels.

  3. Being close LA, we get a combination of real gang bangers, wanna be thugsters, the Hollywood set that wants to look like they are gangsta. This all adds up to who’s who in the thug world.

    Out here, I see the news as an extension of an entertainment program. I often call the news a televised police blotter. The only thing is that frequently the “stars” are young black men.

    Try to separate the biases from the truth. Always be aware of your surroundings. Try not to function on stereotypes only.

  4. The media is not helping the matter, but Jackson is a MAJORITY black city. Therefore, proportionally 80 percent of crime should be committed by blacks. I don’t have a good feeling about going out in the city, not because of the news, but because of the prevailing attitudes of people who I feel should know better. Young guys are making really bad choices which cause them to be labeled and departmentalized.

  5. I have similar feelings but I look at wb’s the same way. I am raising young black men and it’s really hard to explain who they should be friends with and why WITHOUT it making it seem like I agree with those new reports. Because I don’t but I do.

  6. I see what you’re talking about. It’s extremely difficult to see young black men always on television for criminal activity but while working at a television station I wrote tons of stories with white criminals. If you’re young and/or look indigent, I’m watching my back and locking the doors regardless of color. If that offends your delicate sensibilities, I’d rather offend your sensibilities than become a victim of crime. I feel for the black men dressed in suits who get exactly the same treatment from people of all races. I also feel for the young college men dressed exactly like criminals who get the same treatment. That’s mostly what’s kept me from crossing the line altogether– a lot of my friends at Hampton (I know! LOL) were wearing white tees and Yankee fitteds just like the thugs and they have a right to dress like that. Such a conundrum.

  7. This is how I feel about Memphis and cannot fathom for the life of me why people like it there….like really really like it. This is especially true for folks from my hometown. I need to be in a throng of about 10 people for me to feel safe enough to consider going out at night….just kidding….not really. Crime is bad and the city government is worse which doesn’t do a good job of helping to stifle my fears. It’s a shame because Memphis used to be a nice place to visit and live in. At least that’s what my mama tells me.

  8. I know what you mean. I live in a predominantly black city and its starting to get REALLY bad here. It hurts to see so many black men involved in some of the things they are involved in. I’m also single parent of a son and daughter and I’m determined to raise both of them well but my son and the stereotypes already bestowed on him just because he’s a black male scare me.

  9. I hear you, feel you and echo the sentiments of most. It’s painful to watch the news, talk to neighbors and see some of what’s happening in our communities. When I found out that the little peanut I was growing in my belly was a boy, I was as once overjoyed and scared out of my mind. The road ahead for young black men just seems so unfair from the starting line. As MZ said, the stereotypes are in FULL EFFECT and there are too many young black men willing to live up to them. His father and I are ready to embrace the challenges, of which I know there will be many.

  10. Interesting post! Oddly enough since Oakland has been on high alert with riots, protest and non-related shenanigans since the Oscar Grant murder and Mehserle verdict, I am acutely cautious of my surroundings and I hate it! I don’t want to be scared! But it’s getting harder and harder not to look at all young black men in fear or clutch my purse, or lock my car door suddenly. I’ve worked with youth and know how easily they can be influenced to do stupid things and it makes me sad that they themselves are buying into the stereotypes and acting accordingly. It’s the 15 year olds here!

  11. I feel you. I’m scared of teenagers of all ages, they just don’t give a damn.

    But, here’s the thing about the news. Most of the news media is white and white-owned. Most white people are scared of young black men, so who do you think is going to show up on the news doing crime?

    When I was in college, we did studies of what was covered on the news and found that the crime being committed by blacks is one percentage and the crime being shown committed by blacks on the news is altogether different (much higher than actual).

    So while I think every woman should remain cognizant of her surroundings I think it’s also important to know that news stations are biased whether they want to be or not.

    Also, one other thing to note about crime is that people tend to commit crimes where they live. If you live in a black neighborhood, blacks will be committing crimes. If you live in a white neighborhood, whites will be committing crimes. This is also easy for me to say in Chicago, that’s extremely segregated. I don’t know how it is down there.

    • Co-sign about the news bias. I did some research, albeit limited, in grad school which focused on disparities in committed crimes and televised crimes. News reports were very skewed with regard to race, and you can guess who suffered as a result.

      We just have to pray for this generation. Aside from mentoring, enrichment programs, and other activities created for young black men, I don’t know what else will work besides a move of God. I totally understand your concern for you and your baby.

  12. I live in a predominantly black city but a predominantly white hippie neighborhood.

    We have our own neighborhood newspaper and they publish crimes in the city. Most crimes are outside our immediate neighborhood but the common thread is that the crimes are almost always perpetrated by African-Americans.

    As one of the few black folks in our neighborhood, I hate reading description after description including the words “African-American” when it comes to crime.

    Is it trifling that I read the crime pages secretly hoping one of the perpetrators will be something, anything other than black?

  13. I’m actually leary off ALL young men in groups of three or more. When they are around I never take my eyes off of them. Young men right now are very dangerous.

  14. I haven’t read the posts, but I tend to think that it is a little different for you to make said comment than a Barbara Bush or Taylor Swift type.

    Yep, there are times when I get concerned by a group of young Black males. But there are times when a group of young White males scares me also. Frat boys in a Friday or Sat night in the village?? Yeah, I’m probably going to cross to the other side of the street.

    Here is the difference. There is a context to what you or I might feel. I know not all Black males are criminals. I am highly unlikely to feel uneasy in the presence of Black men like my husband, cousins, uncles, friends… There is a difference.

    I think it is ok to see the individual… and if the individual looks like they’ve been to jail… wellll??? But to some people, all Black men look dangerous. They don’t see the individual. We all look alike to them. That’s when it becomes a problem.

  15. I agree with the last commenter (Sherri) just like I agree with just about every comment and the very natural and real feelings conveyed in the post. But any microcosm speaks to the state of the macrocosm and I feel that there are no differentiating lines between kids(teens) and adults. There is nothing to aspire to, nothing to mature into when you think you’re grown at 16 and then having no one cutting you down to size as my father did…fathers…when it comes to boys…all boys the presence of a father (worth his salt) is a stabilizing and sometimes terrifying notion in a boy’s life. But fatherlessness is at epic highs right now particularly in African American communities so these kids, the thugs, the clowns, the jokers are running around unchecked, unsupervised, untrained and sadly unloved so they do what they do. Many times these boys think they are the man of the house because when they were little they were mom’s “lil” man and that never really changed. It’s only after they are apprehended, shot dead, or whatever that the consequences sink in, but why would they in the mind of a child? We hold our black boys in society to the same standard as a rationale thinking adult and we should when the crime fits, but at the crux of it they are kids, completely running off the rails with little to no guidance. Fixing this problem is the real problem. I do my best with my teen who at fifteen is 6’2″ and 3 inches taller than me. Some days he doesn’t like me and many days I wonder if I like him at all, but when he’s grown and has a working brain in his head and a sense of his place in this world we can come together as friends, just like I am with my father…now.

    Nice…real post.

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