Wearing a hoodie. Baggie pants. Coming from the South or West Sides. Being black, or Latino, and a teenager.
All of these characteristics have been used in the past to lay suspicion, or blame, for urban violence on youth of color.
On this week’s Barber Shop Show, Noe Gil and Terrance Rogers, two students from Uplift Community High School in Uptown, will talk about their experiences with violence first hand.
A spike in neighborhood violence over the past several months in Uptown has caused some people to point a finger at Uplift students, but rarely is any consideration given to how this violence actually affects the students, says Gil.
“Uplift students are risking their lives to attend school. Why do we think that they are the ones causing the problem?”
What do you think of the scapegoating of urban youth?
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One of the biggest cases of this sort of scapegoating was in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Some blamed Martin, in part, for his own murder because of how he was dressed: “Trayvon Martin would be alive but for his hoodie,” said Geraldo Rivera, a national news anchor for Fox News, last month.
This type of profiling is not new.
In an infamous 1989 case in New York, five Black and Latino teenagers were wrongfully convicted for sexually assaulting and beating a jogger in Central Park at night. They served years of jail time before being exonerated – the actual perpetrator was convicted after confessing to the crime in 2002.
In a recent book called “The Central Park Five,” author Sarah Burns looks at “a New York City in the grips of an unprecedented crime wave with cuts to social services, skyrocketing drop out rates, and an ever expanding divide between rich and poor,” according to a review of the book and interview with the author on Uprising Radio.
The book highlights “race-related issues the country is still struggling to resolve.”
Tune in at 12pm on Vocalo 89.5 FM for a discussion on violence and who’s often blamed for it.
Check out Gil and Rogers’ own story in a blog and audio post they recently did for The Chicago Reporter here.
And if you missed last week’s Mid-Month Mash Up, you can listen here.