All of my life I have been a witness to drugs, sex, and violence around/in my neighborhood. I experience two completely different worlds from the trolley stop to my block. It goes from University of the Sciences, to a group of young drug dealers loitering in front of a store, to my block, which is occupied by retired couples and working/middle class people. Through all of the diversity in my community, the young black men stand out, and with good reason.
It is not absurd to hear a gunshot in the distance or to see someone being arrested. Although the area is populated with more whites than blacks, black people, especially young black men, play a pivotal role in the disruptive activities in my neighborhood. Instead of going to school, some would rather follow the influence of the neighborhood drug dealer. These young men reject the system and all that goes along with it, when you say, ‘I don’t give a fuck,’ you then become empowered, liberated, controller of your own destiny (Collins, 177). While this may stand true for financially stable young black men, it has a total different effect for the young men in my neighborhood. Families fear they will lose their children to the “bad” elements of the neighborhood. Once I overheard someone say the best thing a black male can do is stay out of trouble. It is common for families in my neighborhood to prepare young males for inevitable and perilous encounters with the police. Representation of criminals, bitches and bad mothers refer to the poor and/or working-class African American men and women who allegedly lack the values of hard work, marriage, school performance, and clean living (Collins, 154). Class location, race and gender identities shape how young black men reveal the evidence of the problems they face in their life. Who is to blame for this ensemble of social ills?