Two Takes on One Subject

On May 1, 1992, the third day of the Los Angeles riots, [Rodney] King appeared in public before television news cameras to appeal for calm and plead for peace, asking, “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?”

I asked the same thing tonight as I read the new edition of the Christian Century, which had an article discussing the status of juvenile offender in the US. I was hoping to link to it, but the newest issue of the Century isn’t online yet. While I read the story I was reminded, I am sure intentionally, of the fiasco going on in Jena, Louisiana right now. I literally wept as I realized that many of the children incarcerated are not being rehabilitated but are being indoctrinated into a way of life that is violent and harsh. No wonder there are so many repeat offenders, we are literally training up criminals, startign with a disproportionate number of young Black men. The article said that 16 percent of the total juvenile population in the US is African-American, yet 44 percent of the incarcerated offenders are African-American. How sick.

On a good note, and sort of in the same vein. People must be doing some things right in Muncie because I saw two guys that I remember teaching at Garfield on the front page of the paper. As juniors, they had already passed their ISTEP and were signing up for the SATs. I also bumped into a kid who I rememberand whose younger brother was in one of my reading groups. I was so proud that Chadwick was at BSU as a freshman. I am proud of these young men for shutting down the sterotypes. They all grew up on the southside, they are all respectable young men, and they all are making something of themselves. I am sure that their success is not attributed to the miraculous wonders of the Muncie police department’s preventative efforts. There success is fostered in their families, their communities, their churches, themselves. Wow, how amazing to watch these guys make it out!

I also read Leonard Pitts’ column (Click here for the Leonard Pitts article.) in the Muncie paper. I keep wondering when the Muncie paper will drop Pitts’ column because it is too controversial, but I suppose they have to keep something for those of us who like to labor under the delusion of multiculturalism. I am sure that is why they keep Candorville, which is nowhere as smart or funny as Boondocks, but I’ll take what I can get. They took away Doonesbury except Sundays, so I guess beggars can’t be choosers. Anyway. Whenever I can, I will post the article about the juvenile offenders.

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