How To Stop Black Male Homicide In South Dallas?
Love is the key to ending urban violence. This solution sounds unrealistic and esoteric, but many young black men have never felt love by their fathers specifically and society generally. This lack of love from the most important man in their life creates a sense of worthlessness. Moreover, when these young brothers feel worthless, they experience anger and place no value on the lives of other young black men particularly, making black male homicide easy.
White America is also at fault, in an extraordinary way. White Americans have used its considerable power to teach blacks in every way possible and for several centuries that we’re worthless, cursed, wretched, inferior, forsaken, unloved, and much more. Whites communicate this message in subtle ways via mass and social media. They also taught it in glaring ways through slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, systemic racism, police brutality and by neglecting urban neighborhoods economically, to name a few methods. This fusion of racism, broken families and economic neglect created poverty and despair in South Dallas that became a perfect environment for murder.
However, there’s hope! We can change this environment if we’re willing to love these young men. But how you may wonder? How can love affect policies and bring change? I offer five ways we can love these young men to a better future through better policies.
1. Jesus equals love. Foremost, I’m a preacher of the Gospel, and I can’t sincerely discuss love without first discussing Jesus. He showed the greatest act of love in human history by dying for a rebellious and disobedient human race. His sacrificial death was the ultimate act of love. His example of selfless love should guide our expressions of love and inform our policymaking. Reaching and teaching these young men with and about the love of Christ is the duty of churches in South Dallas.
2. Mentors equal love. When we take time from our hectic lives and spend it with these abandoned young men, we’re showing them, great love. We’re showing them they matter. What’s more, mentoring provides an opportunity to teach them the values that produce success.
These mentors will likely have to come from outside the inner city. This need requires that blacks come back into a place they’ve been trying hard to escape. Coming back to the ghetto to save lives shouldn’t be a deal breaker since true love involves sacrifice as Jesus showed us.
3. Jobs equal love. These young men need jobs. Unemployment is still very high in inner-city neighborhoods amongst young black men. Jobs are virtually nonexistent where they live. The white powerbrokers refuse to invest and develop economic opportunities in inner cities. Hence, many of these young black men resort to violence from the drug dealing game because they need money to survive. It’s no mystery.
4. Education equals love. Yes, helping these young men attend effective schools shows them love, dignity and that they matter. They figure no one cares about them to place them in failing and dilapidated schools with apathetic teachers. That sends a powerful message that their futures don’t matter. They know they’re being setup for failure and placed on the school to prison pipeline when city leaders relegate them to forsaken schools. Who are we kidding? It’s a very unloving act to intentionally or knowingly cripple young men academically by neglecting and underfunding the schools they attend.
5. Justice equals love. Injustice abounds in inner-city neighborhoods. It’s everywhere. There’s racial, economic, environmental, corporate, healthcare, police and prosecutorial injustice, and this list certainly isn’t complete. Nothing good comes from widespread injustice, like throwing salt water in a wind storm, it’ll boomerang to burn the eyes of the perpetrators.
Please don’t scoff at this love talk. The Scriptures tell us that love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8), and love’s greater than faith and hope (1 Corinthians 13:13). When I ride through or do outreach in communities like South Dallas, I see a community that the rest of Dallas doesn’t love. I see a people that the rest of Dallas doesn’t love. Why wonder then when murders spikes in South Dallas?
The young men in South Dallas will love themselves when we love them. And when they love themselves, they’ll love others and murders will decrease, maybe even vanish.