Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Mr Charm and Trayvon

Mr Charm was the son of a single mother and a high school dropout. He was white, and had never done anything criminal, but those are the only differences. He would have had a bleak existence except for one thing: he was drafted. It was during the Korean War.
The army made all the difference. He had a rather quiet two years, drinking beer and eating rich pastries in Austria. In the part of Austria he was in, they spoke German, not Austrian. (Couldn't resist.)
But it wasn't his wartime experience that made the difference. It was the G I Bill of Rights. Next to the Homestead Act, I think it was the most influential piece of legislation Congress has ever passed. It gave thousands of young men a chance at a better life, among them Mr Charm.
He went to Brooklyn College, a selective institution but one that had no tuition. That in itself was a miracle; he thrived at Brooklyn College, and the rest is history.
Trayvon Martin's life was wasted. At seventeen, he had plenty of time ahead to straighten out his life. Tragically, he never had a chance. I'm guessing his parents gave him no guidance but let him run wild, unlike Dr Ben Carson's mother. They probably gave him no guidance because they never got any. Again, I'm guessing, but I have met dozens like him among my mother's clientele.
On visiting day in any prison you can see the next generation; young mothers, with their children dressed up in Sunday clothes, come to visit their baby daddies.
You can't say these young men and women don't care about their kids; clearly they do. They lack parenting skills, and the schools they attend are pathetic. Since we can't start with the parents, perhaps we could start with the education these kids are getting, an education that suits the teachers'unions just fine.
I don't have an answwer, but it grieves me that a generation of black youth is squandered.

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