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?