Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Again, not all young black children are thugs

Over at Peoria Story, Elaine Hopkins has an entry about children being discriminated against at March Madness and as a result, black leaders are up in arms. I know I’m not alone in feeling really bad for the teens who were turned away. After all, it’s not their fault if gangs run Peoria.

The NAACP and other black leaders are right, this is an injustice… (here comes the but), But didn’t reasonable people know that if children in Peoria were allowed to continue to run rampant and terrorize the community, that eventually people would begin to look at all youngsters who fit a certain criterion as thugs and trouble makers? Stereotyping? Of course, but any reasonable adult who has seen Crime View Community knows that if you live and/or do business in a certain part of Peoria, you have to make judgment calls about your safety. These days, even a simple, white t-shirt could be a sign of a gangbanger.

Don Jackson, NAACP President believes that “Black children were singled out in ...” I agree with Mr. Jackson, I don’t doubt that they were singled out. Although it‘s unfortunate that it happened and it is hurtful to the children, is this really the fight the NAACP needs to have at this time?

I think we can all agree, that the behavior displayed by the young people who are terrorizing this community is a symptom of a greater problem. The NAACP and black leaders need to address the root cause of why so many young black folks in this town feel like nobody gives a damn about them, therefore, they don’t give a damn about nobody. It's a vicious cycle and we have to break it.

In the meantime, our children, law abiding citizens, are being turned away at the door of the Civic Center and make no bones about it – it’s WRONG. However, (... and I'm totally playing the devil's advocate on this) is it really discrimination when reasonable folks would consider taking similar precautions because of the crime in Peoria and the subsequent information on Crime View Community? I mean, come on, businesses are locking the door and making people ring the doorbell before getting in.

The black population of Peoria, Illinois is upwards of 25,000. The vast majority of the crime is in the black community. The majority of the crimes are being committed by black youth. The majority of us live in the neighborhoods where people are getting shot everyday. Black children live in a town where when they are shot dead, the police just can’t seem to solve the crime, but they will put up a map to warn citizens of the areas to avoid.

People can’t go to a street carnival without possibly getting beat-up, cussed out or shot at. Women and elderly are getting mugged regularly. There are complaints of discrimination in city services. The schools are failing our children and there are reports of lunch rooms being terorrized by thugs. What I and other law abiding citizens of Peoria want to know is can the NAACP and black leaders please, please, please talk to somebody about these issues?


Rixblix said...

Really? Emerge? You want to pull the 4 Ton Gorilla out of the closet when there is a museum that needs to be built?

General Parker said...

Emerge, this case, as we were told, came from White employees that were upset that they had been directed to turn away black students who were not with their parents. This directive was not given for the White students. Parents had dropped their students off at the Civic Center to enjoy the game and were to return when the games were finished, however they were not allowed access. So yes, it is discrimination when you single out a class of people based on race which is a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Yes, there is alot wrong in our community and in the Black community in general, but two wrongs don't make it right and this action definitely doesn't help the situation. In fact, it is escalating something that should never have occured.

Middle Aged Woman Blogging said...

I read Elaine's post and was shocked. I remember as a teenager driving down to Champaign for these games and wonder what would have happened if they didn't allow us in. My parents certainly did not go with us.

Has Hinton replied to people's reactions regarding this?

EMERGE said...


I am not disputing that the kids were treated unfairly - the Civic Center was wrong and they over reacted. What I am saying is "black leaders" had to have seen this coming. Peorians have CrimeView Community and the local crime rate to feel justified in trying to avoid the people and places they think are dangerous - it's a safety issue - we are all doing it.

I am concerned about the fact that black children are failing in disproportionate numbers and are not getting a good education; gangs run the inner city and as a result our neighborhoods are not safe - you know - basic services.

I just happen to think that stuff is more important and is a proactive way to address the discrimination the black community faces. Reactionary approachs (i.e., going after Hinton or the Civic Center because some kids couldn't go to a basketball game) are simply bandaids on a symptom of a larger problem.

Middle Aged Woman Blogging said...

"Mayor Jim Ardis said police and Peoria District 150 Supt. Ken Hinton decided last week to require every four teenagers to be accompanied by an adult at the event. Teens were defined as age 18 and under. An accouncement was made at the schools, he said."

Hinton and Ardis made this decision if I am reading this correctly. But it doesn't say every four "black" teenagers on Elaine's post. There must be more to this story. I agree, there is a larger problem, but this kind of thing certainly doesn't help.

EMERGE said...


You are right - for some reason the Civic Center appears to have gone all out to enforce the Hinton/Ardis directive.

Why would the Civic Center think they could get away with giving their employees directives to openly discriminate against a certain group of people? Perhaps that is "the more to the story" you are referring to...

Ramble On said...

I encourage members of the leadership to join me any day at work. Reach out to the young men who do nothing all day but pace the sidewalk, deal the drugs, take advantage of the young women, ignore their responsibility to their babies and try to intimidate anyone who attempts to stop their behavior. Come meet these young men where they are. Help guide them in a different direction. You can spot them. Many have exchanged their black "hoodies" for red T-shirts.

Stereotyping is wrong. It is inexcusable. But, unfortunately, it is also understandable sometimes. Please, join together to conduct an intervention with these young men. If you take a stand WITH these young men and help them find a new direction, you may find that you have to take fewer stands with various institutions.

Sharon Crews said...

Emerge, voices like yours are so important in addressing these problems facing the community at large and the black community specifically. I do believe you are speaking with a new voice, so to speak. I even hesitate to comment. You seem so capable of seeing both sides on these issues. I have long believed that none of these problems will not be solved until people like you speak out with new solutions and new ways at looking at the problems facing black youth.
Bigotry is present and probably will be for a long time, but the problems need to be resolved in spite of the bigotry. I believe it is Bill Cosby's message that the black community has to solve the problems--it can't wait for the white community to come up with the solutions--and often the wrong solutions. I hope I'm not being too vague. The bottom line is that I truly appreciate your insights.