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SPIRITUAL SOUL FOOD An Urban Voice
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Signs that Indicate the End is Near Is Teen Violence Poverty in Disguise? YOUTH & GANGS Why Doesnâ€™t My Hair Grow? CHURCH GIRL: Stage Play at Atlanta Fox Urban Voice
YO GABBA GABBA Live
Urban VISION Stories, articles and information in the areas of Family & Community, Spiritual Well Being, Relationships, Health & Beauty, News and more. Urban Vision Magazine welcomes input, that is why we are asking for information concerning upcoming events and things of interest for us to showcase and inform our readers. ABOUT VISION Vision is working to be a voice related to today's urban community. And is intended to serve as a forum for dialogue and information. MISSION A VISION for people to seek out one another for the purpose of bringing together and building up the urban community. Founder/ Editor - in - Chief A. Giles Senior Editor P.A. Stenson Art & Photography A.G Multimedia Contributing Writers Patricia Stenson - Williams Crystal Webb Shondra Stewart Myisha Giles T.L. Justice Mornetta Cunningham Urban V I S I O N (A G Multimedia) welcomes comments, letters, articles, artwork, and photographs from its readers. V I S I O N is not responsible for the return of unsolicited materials. V I S I O N (A G Multimedia) reserves the right to edit, revise, or reject any advertisement. The foregoing notwithstanding, advertiser has full responsibility for the legality of the content of all advertising submitted to V I S I O N (AG Multimedia). Neither shall VISION nor its affiliates be liable for any reason for any error in connection with any advertisement (including not limited to typographical errors, failures to publish advertisement on desired dates, omission, or additions to advertisements. In no event shall VISION (A G Mulitmedia) or its affiliates be responsible for loss of sales, profits, or special incidental, or indirectional, consequential or punitive damages through its actions, inaction or neglect because of any matter arising our of or in connection with its obligations to publish advertising, regardless of whether a claim is made under tort, contract or any other theory of law. All property rights including any copyright interest, in all advertising produced for Advertiser VISION (A G Multimedia) or its affiliates (including all photographs) shall be sole property of VISION Magazine (A G Multimedia) All rights reserved. Any reproduction in whole or in part, is prohibited without written permission. Copyright @ 2010
www.deeplyrootedapparel.com When you are looking for something to wear that best describes the person you are in HIM, speak it proudly, firmly and with a hint of flair in a tee that is Deeply Rooted!!!
Fox Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia Sept. 21, 23-26 Urban Voice
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YO GABBA GABBA LIVE Oct 6th State Theatre at Playhouse Square, Cleveland, OH Oct 11 Louisville Palace, Louisville, KY Oct 19 BJCC Concert Hall, Birmingham, AL Oct. 23 - 24 Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA WWW.TICKETMASTER.COM
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Byond Natural Holistic Trichology & Natural Hair and Scalp Therapy To Schedule An Appointment: 404-563-4202 firstname.lastname@example.org Urban Voice
Loving and accepting our hair is not an easy task, especially if one has been using straightening and relaxers all of ones life. We have to re learn how to care for our natural hair. It takes knowledge, learning what is the best way of styling and maintaining our hair in a natural state.
WHY MY HAIR IS NOT GROWING LONG
Are you really natural?
Research Analyst - California
Reasons why black woman can not grow long hair Many African American woman are not understanding why they can not grow long hair. Studies have shown that is not that the hair is not growing. The hair is growing, but it is also facing a lot of drying elements such as blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons, hot combs, poor diet, chemical relaxers, mineral oil, braids that are too tight and hair loss. So many factors play a part in the appearance that black hair can not grow. LEARN TO BE HAPPY & CONTENT WHATEVER THE LENGTH, JUST KEEP YOUR HAIR HEALTHY
What does it mean to be natural? does that mean no chemicals? Going natural is Natural hair, black hair, and afro-textured hair are terms used to refer to the texture of Black African hair that has not been altered chemically by perming, relaxing, straightening, bleaching or coloring, you will find on websites, blogs and forums that great debate is made over this definition because you will see natural curly heads with color, texturizers, extentions as well as using "natural hair products" that have chemicals in the ingredients. So you will have to decide what going natural is to you.
Once these elements are removed many black women who have chosen to go natural, find that their hair grows fast and long, they are also surprised to find that they have soft manageable curls and healthy looking locks. More women who go natural are also changing their diets to eating healthier and choosing products that are made of natural ingredients.
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"What signs indicate that the end times are approaching?" Matthew 24:5-8 gives us some important clues so we can discern the approach of the end times, “For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” An increase in false messiahs, an increase in warfare, and increases in famines, plagues, and natural disasters—these are signs of the end times. In this passage, though, we are given a warning: we are not to be deceived, because these events are only the beginning of birth pains; the end is still to come. Some interpreters point to every earthquake, every political upheaval, and every attack on Israel as a sure sign that the end times are rapidly approaching. While the events may signal the approach of the last days, they are not necessarily indicators that the end times have arrived. The apostle Paul warned that the last days would bring a marked increase in false teaching. “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). The last days are described as “perilous times” because of the increasingly evil character of man and people who actively “resist the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1-9; see also 2 Thessalonians 2:3). Other possible signs would include a rebuilding of a Jewish temple in Jerusalem, increased hostility towards Israel, and advances toward a one-world government. The most prominent sign of the end times, however, is the nation of Israel. In 1948, Israel was recognized as a sovereign state, essentially for the first time since A.D. 70. God promised Abraham that his posterity would have Canaan as “an everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8), and Ezekiel prophesied a physical and spiritual resuscitation of Israel (Ezekiel chapter 37). Having Israel as a nation in its own land is important in light of end times prophecy because of Israel’s prominence in eschatology (Daniel 10:14; 11:41; Revelation 11:8). With these signs in mind, we can be wise and discerning in regard to the expectation of the end times. We should not, however, interpret any of these singular events as a clear indication of the soon arrival of the end times. God has given us enough information that we can be prepared, and that is what we are called to be. Resources: www.jeremiahproject.com/prophecy/signofthetimes.html www.gotquestions.org
(Every Sunday through December 31, 2010)
Some Institutions Will Accept You Event With A Highschool Diploma.
If you don’t intend to finish highschool, we may have a perfect alternative for you. The fact is, more teenagers are entering these institutions than going to college. And since there’s no entrance exam getting in is easy. Just get busted for a crime and there’s a very good chance you’ll be accepted. Room and board included. But before you rush to enter, remember this: You may not be able to leave. You’ll be more successul opening doors from college than prison.
CRIME. IT’S NOT A PART OF OUR BLACK HERITAGE. Urban Voice
YOUTH AND GANGS Young people are drawn into this gang for a sense of belonging, the hope finding unconditional love (this is very distorted) and a desire for structure "Street Gangs in School". Schools can provide these as preventive and redemption matters at all grade levels.
Both groups need training in how to hold standards without eliminating the person. See Bullying Stops when Respect Begins.
1. Belonging: Every student needs to belong to the school, the class, the club, the team, etc. If the school does not provide a guided set of choices for belonging, the students will find their own. These are usually negative. See article on Connections
3. Structure: And finally, students need structure. Structure is security at the base level. It allows one to always know what to expect and what is expected. Freedom is a wonderful thing, but it must be experienced from a framework of structure to be truly enjoyed. See Lock Out Violence Everyday (L.O.V.E.) Campaign
2. Unconditional Love: Next, the school should insure that students feel loved without condition. There will always be transgressions and consequences should follow (they do within the gang) but being kicked out is not an option. “We don’t want your kind around here,” is the message received by some students every day. Most often the message comes from fellow students but more and more it comes from staff and administration.
Communities must act NOW to keep youth safe and reduce violence LOS ANGELES (Special to the NNPA from the Final Call) — Summer has kicked off, bringing backyard barbeques, beach parties, and usually an increase in gang-related and youth violence. As police statistics and dozens of recent murders already indicate, many didn’t wait for summer’s official June 21 start date to set off the heat. Ten people were killed recently in less than one month in just two major American cities. On May 25, according to police and news reports, 18-year-old Dannie Farber, a star high school football player, was fatally shot multiple times while he and his girlfriend dined at his favorite Compton, Calif. restaurant. A spate of drive-by shootings and other violence in Chicago, between May 16-18, took the lives of nine people and left 13 others wounded. Fifteen-year-old Alex Arellano was found in a Southside Chicago gangway with a gunshot wound to the head, his body severely beaten and burned. Family members said they took him out of school because of problems with gang members and they believe he was lured to his death. The alleged suspect charged with Alex’s death is 15 and part of a gang responsible for his murder, police said. More time, less for youth to do Gang interventionists, law enforcement, religious leaders and youth advocates concur that youth violence stems from many factors. They insist meaningful solutions require everyone’s participation to avoid losing more lives as the days get hotter. “Violence doesn’t start overnight because of weather, it kicks up during the summer because people are spending more hours on the street and there’s less for young people to do,” said Kim McGill, co-founder of the Youth Justice Coalition/Free L.A. a Southern California-based youth led movement that works against race, gender and class inequality in the Los Angeles juvenile justice system. The need for youth employment is greater during the summer because there is more free time and less support—such as lunch and bus passes relied on during school days she said. Curfews often end when the school year does, leaving youth mingling in parks and clubs, and vulnerable to gang recruitment, said activists. Operation OG1, a Houston, Texas-based gang and prison rehabilitation program, believes the close age range between some parents and children plays a big role in the crisis. “It’s not like you have that distance of respect from the parent and the kid anymore because the lifestyle that they live is so close … a lot of the kids are living in survival conditions dealing with the parents that they have. There’s no guidance, direction, nothing,” Gordon said. On the other hand, he added, a youth’s gang family may provide more discipline, respect and protection. Summer jobs hard to find Youth advocates point out that when the U.S. recession struck, the pool of already weak summer jobs for youth suffered. As the numbers of recession-weary working adults, recent college grads and even seniors looking for work increased, youth stood fewer chances of getting a job. Still, communities don’t have to rely on conventional government jobs programs to employ children, advocates said.
“If we just started there on the block with how many of them need summer jobs? How many are interested in entertainment, engineering or some other profession? We can pay the 80 percent of our children who don’t have jobs for lawn care or community serviceoriented programs that can teach them something,” said Enoch Muhammad, co-creator of HipHop Detoxx, a Chicago-based program that uses hip-hop music and the science of selfimprovement to empower youth. According to Ronald Hampton, executive director of the Wash-ington, D.C.-based National Black Police Association, summer jobs not only help youth to avoid violence, but can also help instill a lifelong work ethic. Those who can’t work can volunteer in their communities, he said. “Volunteer work is about getting opportunities to do things that may interest them and introduce them to employment in the real work world. A lot of times grass needs to be cut, there are clean-up projects in the summertime,” he said. This is an opportunity to get young people involved and keep them off the street and out of violence, Hampton told The Final Call. Reallocation of resources to make a difference. McGill argued proper education is a major solution to youth violence, but cities must provide everything from funding and financial resources, to recreation programs and follow up, especially for youngsters society has given up on or considers hard to reach. The Youth Justice Coalition has established the Free LA High School, which enrolls students year round. It is designed for young people tied to the juvenile justice system because most youth who are arrested have difficulty re-entering school. The re-enrollment process can take weeks, sometimes months, because of difficulty getting academic transcripts from when youth were in detention, McGill said. The Youth Justice Coalition is seeking just one percent of L.A. County’s law enforcement budget, which would mean $100 million to support peace in the community, the youth activist continued. The money would be used to create 1,000 youth jobs, put 500 gang intervention workers on the streets, and open youth centers in every community from 3 p.m. to midnight, especially those neighborhoods under gang injunctions. Gordon, who uses his certification in anger management and 16 years of incarceration to reach youth, believes a lot of violence can be alleviated if youth are taught better decision-making and coping skills. Low self-esteem is a key cause of the violence, said Mr. Gordon, who helps parents spot warning signs of trouble and connects families with mentors and service programs. “In Houston it’s most violent, probably in the afternoon hours, is the hottest time. It’s unfortunate that down here in Texas, Houston, there are no summer programs for the kids … the last two years were probably the worst summers that we had here. In fact, the city was overlooking all of the problems that we were having with Black on Black violence here and were not even recording the murders properly as homicides, but were putting them as suicides to receive federal money,” Gordon said. Wrap around services needed In a previous interview, attorney Connie Rice of the NAACP Advancement Project, told The Final Call that gang reduction will require a whole wrap around, neighborhood impact model which includes government, religious, faith-based groups, businesses, and civic groups—including gang intervention, schools, families and others responsible for their behavior— coming together.
In 2007, the city of Los Angeles commissioned Atty. Rice to study its gang problem. The study produced a comprehensive report with sweeping recommendations for wrap around services to address the problem. “We need to change our culture. We need to change how services are delivered. We need to change the outcomes. We need to make sure that our whole village is organized to keep every child safe 24/7 in the home, on the way to school, in school, after school and in the parks when they play, and we have activities for them just like a suburban community,” Rice told The Final Call. Keeping every child safe requires all hands on deck and some unity, she said. “What we do is we fracture and start fighting over crumbs and we fight over head diva in charge and all the rest of the nonsense that we do. The schools act like they’re not responsible for changing that failure and so until we get a whole government approach, whole community approach, it’s not going to work,” Rice said. Hampton noted the majority of youth are not involved in gangs but may be part of crews, or loose knit neighborhood groups of young people hanging out. Crews are not always associated with the violence seen in large gang structures, he said. “There are enough organizations that are made up of men and women who tend to interact with these young people from time to time and contrary to popular belief, they tend to listen to them. All of them are reachable. The question is, do we have the time to invest?” he asked. Churches already house programs for seniors and child daycare, he said. It would be worth it to get youth engaged and provide resource programs operating in the summer, the former police officer said. Unfortunately, Hampton told The Final Call, a lot of cities, including Washington, D.C., are trying to rush through summer crime initiatives that give police broad powers to identify bad neighborhoods, suppress those neighborhoods, and add youth to gang databases. “Those aren’t the things we ought to be working on. There are young people who are out there who know … its incumbent on them to sort of move themselves away from those kind of things that can get them in trouble. I mean they know what’s right and what’s wrong. And if they want to be around to finish their education, to get some good things, jobs in the real work world, then they are going to have the people who are trying to provide them services meet them halfway,” Mr. Hampton said. Of course, he said, youth should make good decisions, avoid situations that would lead to entanglement in the criminal justice system, and do things to get an advantage in education, employment and basic productivity. “The young people are really a lot smarter than I think we give them credit for sometimes. But still, that doesn’t let the government off the hook in terms of providing the necessary services and other things that they need for young people as well as young adults also,” Hampton said. In recent years, some gang intervention organizations and law enforcement agencies have begun to work closer together to curb violence. The ENOTA Project, Inc., was created by Student Captain Dennis Muhammad, of the Nation of Islam, to train a volunteer corps of men to work as “peacekeepers” in their own neighborhoods. ENOTA stands for Educating Neighborhoods to Obey Those in Authority. Muhammad has provided sensitivity training to police officers for more than 20 years. Crime and violence in Black and Brown communities is a social problem, he said. “You can’t solve our problems of crime and violence by more police officers arresting our people. It must be a community effort of social programming. Without the churches, mosques and other grassroots and faith-based organizations, we will never solve the problem,” he said.
For peace, there has to be connections between community-based organizations, law enforcement, activists and leaders to develop proactive strategies that are specific to stopping rising crime in their neighborhoods, Mr. Muhammad said. “The Honor-able Minister Louis Farrakhan gave us the theme that must become a reality. We must accept responsibility to make our communities decent and a better place to live and I see more community organizations coming together in the name of peacekeepers to patrol areas that seem to be the most violent and crime ridden areas and that can become a model for other areas,” he said. For the strategy to work, youth must be met where they are, on street corners, in the projects and in the communities, not just in the mosques, churches or town hall meetings, Mr. Muhammad added. “We are responsible for the process and they have to be responsible for the outcome for this to work. Nowadays, kids do not know how to resolve issues without it becoming violent because of peer pressure, neighborhood stuff, gang issues and just not knowing,” said Jerald “Pee” Cavitt, founder of Chapter Two, a community crisis intervention effort based in Inglewood, Calif. Chapter Two partners with schools and community centers to prevent youth violence, domestic violence and other high-level crises. Most of the work takes place on schoolyards and in the streets. Youth have been bombarded with so many violent ways to solve issues that they automatically resort to violence, said Cavitt. “Start at home, with your children, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, aunties and uncles, even mothers and fathers going in that direction. People need to learn mediation methods to learn how to bring disagreeing parties or neighborhoods to the table because all disagreements don’t have to be violently settled. Implement conflict resolution in your house or on your own block, at the store, in the schools, most places, to teach each other how to resolve issues non-violently,” Cavitt advised. Spiritual intervention is needed Student Minister Tony Muhammad, Western Region representative of the Nation of Islam, insists that if the gap in youth spiritual connections to God were bridged violence would subside. “The prevailing problem in many of the urban cities of America in modern times now is not the White man or Caucasian pulling the trigger or hanging us from trees or burning us on the cross like they used to but the enemy of the Black community has become our own ignorance of who we are in relationship to God,” he said. Enoch agreed the place to first find peace is within. He encourages youth, and anyone on the verge of violence, to examine their minds and bodies and see what is needed. “First you have to start where you live … if I’m spiteful or vindictive, then that colors my perceptions, and I’m just in my own household,” Enoch said. Diet and physical conditions can contribute to irritability and conflict, the activist noted. Enoch said he found out a couple of years ago in a Chicago area school, after two girls were murdered, that youth were very dehydrated. Students were fighting with police and when the question was raised, “What can we do with these young people?” “Water,” he replied. “I told them that 85 percent of these children are dehydrated. They’re walking around eating Flamin’ Hots (with red, spicy potato chip flavoring) in the morning, Laffy Taffy, sugary chews candies. If you ask them are they drinking water, that’s the last thing they drink,” Bro. Enoch said. When the school had the students drink more water, it began to see a positive change in behavior.
Why "Teen Violence" is Poverty Violence in Disguise By Mike Males In previous decades, American politicians and social scientists predicted waves of violence stemming from "impulsive" blacks, volatile Eastern European immigrants, "hot-blooded" Latin Americans, and other groups "scientifically" judged to harbor innately aggressive traits. In each case, the news media joined in vilifying whatever temporarily unpopular minority that politicians and pseudo-science had flocked to blame. And in each case, the branding of disfavored population groups as inherently violent has been disproven. (See Stephen Jay Gould's The Mismeasure of Man for examples.) In each case, violence has been found to be a straightforward function of poverty, income disparity. Here we go again. Experts have identified a 1990s demographic scapegoat for America's pandemic violent crime: our own kids. A mushrooming media scare campaign about the coming "storm" of "teenage violence" waged by liberal and conservative politicians and experts alike is in full roar. Teenage Time Bombs Blaming "a ticking demographic time bomb," U.S. News & World Report (12/4/95) warns of "scary kids around the corner." The "troublesome demographic trends" are a growing adolescent population. "A Teenage Time Bomb," Time announced (1/15/96), quoting Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox's view of teenagers as "temporary sociopaths--impulsive and immature." Added Time: "If [teens] also have easy access to guns and drugs, they can be extremely dangerous." Other top-quoted criminologists, like UCLA's James Q. Wilson and former American Society of Criminology president Alfred Blumstein, are in full agreement with Fox: Young equals violent. And top political officials concur. The Los Angeles Times (12/18/95) noted FBI Director Louis Freeh and other authorities' alarm over "the fact that the crime-prone 16-to-24 year-old group will grow dramatically over the next decade--which Freeh cited as "an alarming indicator of future trends.'"
The trendiest demographic scapegoater is the centrist Brookings Institution's John DiIulio Jr., anointed "The Crime Doctor" and "one of Washington's in-vogue thinkers" by the L.A. Times (5/2/95). "More male teenagers, more crime. Period," is his message. A new breed of youthful "super-predators" menace the nation, so vicious even hardened adult convicts are scared of them, DiIulio said. Journalists ought to be aware they are pouring gasoline on a fire they have already fanned. A 1994 Gallup Poll (Gallup Poll Monthly, 9/94) found that American adults already hold "a greatly inflated view of the amount of crime committed by people under the age of 18," with the most salient reason "news coverage of violent crime committed by juveniles." The average American adult believes that youths commit 43 percent of all violent crime in the U.S., three times the true figure of 13 percent--and, as a result, a large majority is eager to harshly punish juveniles. Responsible journalists would be looking to reverse this dangerous misimpression they have helped create. Just the opposite is occurring. In the scare campaign against adolescents, the news media not only uncritically repeat official claims, they actively embellish them with sinister cover stories and apocalyptic tales of suburban mayhem. The message is screamed from headlines, magazine covers, and network specials: Adolescents are "wild in the streets" (Newsweek, 8/2/92); teens everywhere are "killer kids" (Reader's Digest, 6/93). Though casting a few paeans to details like poverty, discrimination and abuse, the media scare campaign declares that violence is innate to teenagers and coming mayhem is inevitable. Therefore, the only real solution, articulated by former Robert Kennedy aide Adam Walinsky (Atlantic, 7/95), is spending tens of billions to hire five million more police officers and suspending basic civil rights to combat the "epidemic of teen violence." Unnatural Aggression The problem with the 1990s teen-violence scare campaign is not that its prediction of a more violent future is wrong--it may well be correct. The problem is its wrongheaded explanation for why violence is rising. There is no such thing as "youth violence," any more than there is "black violence" or "Italian violence." The recent rise in violent crime arrests among youths is so clearly founded in social conditions, not age-group demographics, that experts and officials have had to strain mightily to ignore or downplay them.
The social scientists receiving the most media attention "argue that teenage aggression is natural." (Newsweek, 8/2/92) If it is, we would expect teens all over the world to be violent. That is far from the case. Murder, the most reliably reported crime around the world, is typically committed by killers very close in age to their victims (unless the victims are children or the elderly). In the 19 largest industrial nations outside the U.S., the 40 million young males aged 15 to 24 committed just 800 murders in the most recent reporting year (World Health Organization, World Health Statistics Annual, 1994). In these other Western nations, which have a total of 7,100 murders a year, the typical killer is age 30 or older, far beyond the teen years. In stark contrast, the U.S.'s 18 million 15-to-24-year-old males accounted for 6,800 murders in 1992. American murder peaks at age 19. U.S. 15-to-24-year-olds are 16 times more likely to be murdered than their counterparts in other Western nations. (U.S. adults have a seven times' greater murder risk.) U.S. experts, politicians, and their media parroters couldn't be more wrong: There is nothing innately violent about teenagers. There is something extremely violent-hysterically so--about the United States. Not even similar "frontier cultures" such as Canada and Australia have murder tolls remotely approaching ours. Clearly, there are reasons other than "teen age" that explain why nine out of 10 young men murdered in the world's 20 largest Western countries are Americans. Here American social scientists and the media dispense some of the most absurd escapisms as "explanations." Favorite Villains The favorite conservative and pop-psychology villain (from right-wing media critics like Michael Medved and William Bennett to officials of the Clinton administration) is media violence, and the cure-all is more restrictions on TV, movies, books and music available to youths. But the media in most other Western nations are as violent as America's or more so. Efforts by U.S. experts to explain why Japan has extraordinarily violent media but extraordinarily low societal violence (9 million Japanese teens accounted for just 35 murders in 1992) are the essence of lame. (See James Q. Wilson's illogic in the Los Angeles Times, 6/25/95.) .
True, Europeans and Japanese do not routinely pack heat. And Californians, in a state with 4,000 murders in 1994, purchase 300,000 to 400,000 handguns every year. But if violent media and guns "in every neighborhood" were the reasons for teen violence, we would expect affluent white families to have the most murderous kids. White households are nearly twice as likely to harbor guns, and one-third more likely to subscribe to blood-dripping cable TV channels, than black and other nonwhite households (Statistical Abstract of the U.S. 1995). Yet in California, where whites are the plurality race, nonwhites account for 87 percent of all teen homicides and 80 percent of all teen arrests for violent crimes. How do those who blame media violence, gun availability, and/or "inherent teenage aggression" explain that? Poverty Violence The major factor, buried in teen-violence stories and rarely generating any remedies, is poverty. The biggest differences between the U.S. and the 19 other relatively peaceful industrial nations cited above are youth poverty and extreme disparities in income between rich and poor. The 1995 Luxembourg Income Study found the U.S. raises three to eight times more children in poverty than other Western nations. The U.S. has the largest and fastest-growing gap in income between its richest 5 percent and poorest 5 percent of any industrial society (U.S. News, 8/28/95). One figure summarizes the real U.S. violence issue. In 1993, 40 million Americans lived below the official poverty line (which itself understates the true rate of poverty). Half of these are children, and six in ten are non-white. While most impoverished people are not violent, there is no question among criminologists that the stresses of poverty are associated with much higher violent crime levels among all races and ages. (That poverty is linked to crime should not come as a great surprise. After all, during the Great Depression murder spiraled upward--peaking in 1933 with a rate of 9.7 murders per 100,000, higher than 1993's 9.5 per 100,000 rate. See U.S. Census Bureau, Historical Statistics of the United States.) If you divide the number of violent crimes by the number of people living in destitution, the phenomenon of "teenage violence" disappears: Adjusted for poverty, 13-to-19-yearolds have almost the same crime rate as people in their 40s, and have a crime rate well below that of those in their 20s and 30s. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 1994; U.S. Census Bureau, Poverty in the United States, 1993).
The same adjustment for poverty sheds light on an issue that moderates and liberals seem afraid to discuss--the disproportionate amount of crime committed by non-white teens. "It's increasingly clear that everyone's kids are at risk," the Rand Corporation's Peter Greenwood told the L.A. Times (9/6/95)--which reprinted the meaningless comment under the blaring headline, "A New Wave of Mayhem." Neither Greenwood nor the Times explained why, if "everyone's kids are at risk," a black youth is 12 times more likely to be murdered than a white youth, or why 31 California counties with a combined population of 2.5 million reported zero teen murders in 1993 (California Center for Health Statistics, 1995). In fact, teen murder rates for whites are low and falling; non-white teen murder rates are high and rising. In 1975, 97 white youths and 240 nonwhite (including Hispanic) youths were arrested for homicide in California. In 1994, homicide arrests among white youths had fallen to 60, but among non-white youths had doubled to 482 (Crime & Delinquency in California, 1975-1993, and 1994 printout). But notwithstanding Charles Murray's racist Bell Curve theories, non-white "dysgenics" is not the explanation for the disparity. If one adjusts the racial crime rate for the number of individuals living in extreme poverty, non-whites have a crime rate similar to that of whites at every age level. The raging anecdotal campaign to portray affluent youths as out of control (see New York Times Magazine, 10/8/95; Los Angeles Times, 9/6/95), and the far-out-ofproportion hype accorded the pathetic suburban Lakewood Spur Posse, are attempts to hide the fact that the issue is the same as it always has been: poverty and racism. Masking the Issues Why is "teen violence" deployed by politicians and experts through a compliant media to mask the real issue of "poverty violence"? Because in Washington, as U.S. News & World Report notes (11/6/95), "reducing child poverty, much less eradicating it, is no longer a paramount priority for either political party." Instead, the focus is on the sort of proposals put forward by the conservative Council on Crime in America (Reuters, 1/16/96): more police, more prisons, longer sentences imposed at younger ages. That states like California, Texas and Oklahoma have imposed exactly such get-tough measures for two decades and suffered record increases in violent crime appears to have little impact on the debate.
The favorite liberal scapegoat is America's gun proliferation. "Whereas illegal firearms were not easily available to 12 year-olds just a few years back, guns can now be obtained in any neighborhood by almost any youngster who has a yen for one," the L.A. Times reported (9/9/95), summing up expert opinion. The panacea is another agebased restriction: tougher laws to keep guns away from youths We don't want to spend the money to reduce youth poverty. But blaming concocted "innate" teenage traits for violence opens up a wide array of political and agency profiteering to "treat" the problem. Admitting that the issue might be that 45 percent of black youth, and 40 percent of Hispanic youth, grow up in poverty is not on the official agenda--so it is not on the news media's, either. SIDEBAR: Killer Adults There's a statistic in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports 1994 that shatters the emotional mythology surrounding "children killing children." It shows that for the 1,268 murder victims under age 18 whose killers' ages were known, 889 (or 70 percent) of the murderers were adults--not other youths. Of the 9,004 adult murder victims, 91 percent of the killers were adults. The media did headline--for one day--the report by the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect that found that 2,000 children/youths were murdered and 140,000 seriously injured in abuses inflicted by their parents and caretakers in 1993 (Associated Press, 4/26/95). But none of the media appeared to make the connection between violent abuse of children and later violent crime by teenagers. Little press attention was afforded a National Institute of Justice report (The Cycle of Violence, October 1992) that found that child abuse "begets violence," increased the number of violent criminals by 38 percent, and raised the national violent crime volume by over 60 percent; or a Bureau of Justice Statistics report (Murder in Families, 1994) showing that within families, parents are six times more likely to murder their teenage children than the other way around. And no one has commented on the irony of two 1993 figures: 350,000 juveniles were arrested for violent felonies and misdemeanors (Uniform Crime Reports, 1993), while 370,000 children and youths were confirmed victims of violent and sexual offenses perpetrated by their parents or caretakers (Statistical Abstract of the U.S., 1995). Mike Males is a social ecology graduate student at the University of California, Irvine, and author of The Scapegoat Generation: America's War on Adolescents (Common Courage Press, 1998). Ref. www.fair.org/index.php?page=1351
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