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Youth Question:How should I feel when those who look like me are victims, yet criminalized...?


Sometimes it feels that growing up in America, there is no other feeling to feel except hate. These feelings could just be natural occurring feelings of life; yet when I hear stories of black men and women being gunned down while jogging or in what is supposed to be the comforts of their own home, this leads to the reason why I feel this way. How should I feel when those who look like me are victims, yet criminalized through the lens of broadcast media? How should I feel when those who look like me are held accountable to the fullest extent when the judicial system is involved; yet when those who are in a higher social class and have paler skin commit a crime, it’s swept under a rug even if there is explicit evidence? How should I feel when no matter where I go I will always be viewed as a suspect?

These are not isolated circumstance, situations or incidents, these are habitual occurrences. Dr. King once stated, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”. My question is how much love does it take? How many more lives does this system have to eliminate? How much longer will we be left out to dry and what am I supposed to feel when it is our character that they denigrate? This feeling is so strong and these injustices are so wrong. These things aren’t new, another black soul gone; the cycle continues on. Our skin is our skin, being black in America is dangerous, where is the love in that? What’s not to hate about that? There is only so much frustration and rage an individual can bottle in, before such feelings turn into hate and that hate turn into unforgettable sin. The emotional state from within can become immensely heavy and that hatred can manifest a spirit that is the opposite of heavenly. The question that I have is, am I wrong to feel this hate, though the pain that we feel can be so great? Is it wrong to question that pain even though love drives out hate, at least that’s what Dr. King was saying? Is that a wrong feeling to feel even though hatred leads people to kill? All I know is I wasn’t born nor raised to hate, but when I reflect on our current state, what’s not to hate?-D. Jones, Milwaukee WI


Hi D. Jones

No you’re not wrong to have an don’t know LOVE until you’ve experienced HATE. (And vice versa)

Emotions drive people to respond and they only respond based on their level of understanding. Responding out of LOVE (or hate) can look differently based on the circumstance. It could look like looting (“I LOVE my people hence I fight the establishments that continuously oppress us” or “I HATE Black people so I will kill them.) . Both ends of the emotions spectrum could ignite people to react. So you are never wrong to have an emotion that creates feelings but how you respond could be helpful or harmful.

I share my response because as parent advocates and educators it’s important to understand the mind of our youth as it relates to the world today. Our youth/kids have feelings and they understand based on their experiences. It is our job to build capacity around allowing them to share, validating their feelings and leading by example. This question inspired me to keep doing this work because our kids and families need us for support, love and guidance now more than ever! ~Peace and blessings!

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