It is so easy to blame the youth for the acts that they commit against others, but is it solely their fault? Does calling them “young criminals” and “young thugs” soothe you? That is just a few of the questions that have paraded my thoughts since I started taking Community Studies in college and since I’ve been hearing about the Baltimore teens in recent news. I hate to read the comment section of these news stories because it really reveals the hatred that is felt for the youth without understanding. Do we take time to think about the root causes of such behavior? Situations just don’t spring out of nowhere, they usually are a manifestation of an underlying issue. In recent news, a group of teens attacked an NJ family at the Inner Harbor, another attack at the Inner Harbor followed a day after, and the latest I’ve read about was a group of teens pushing a runner in the Inner Harbor. Although these situations were very extreme, I can not part my lips to talk down about any child or teen because I am an adult. I am also analytical.
In the articles that I’ve read about these incidents, I did not see race specified, but of course, people went on to make assumptions that all of these crimes were committed by black teens. One article even used a picture of a black teen as an opener to elaborate on what’s been going on. Whether the teens were black, white, or of any other race, we still need to get to the root cause. Catherine Pugh can try to “crackdown” on the problem all she wants as long as she takes the time to figure out the root cause. Throwing them in jail will do nothing but grant instant gratification and pacify the issue. Just like drug or alcohol abuse, you have to rehabilitate.
Without after-school programs, extracurricular activities outside of school, and motivation from parents, there is little hope. Especially with the youth that comes from the inner city who have to face hardships constantly, mostly financial. The parents should be who we are initially looking at when adolescents or teens start to display poor behavior. Most of the time, the child mirrors what is going on in their household. If it isn’t the household or parenting, it’s their outside environments. This could include friends, music, or television.
The fact that the mayor is just figuring out that there’s a problem is absurd. While none of these things justify violence against residents, they still are key components that I believe are being looked over which is leading to outrage solely against the teens. While all of these press conferences are being held and articles are being written, I hope that people will do their homework first about the structure of the inner city systems and how problems with youth will worsen if we do not invest time in them. Who is really the blame here?