The threat of Black males in American society is largely associated with criminology. Even the word “blackmail” is associated with an unlawful crime. To blackmail someone is to hold someone hostage by threatening to disclose unwanted information to the public that would disgrace or reveal something unknown about that person. Particularly, if that person did not give up money or valuables, he or she would be disgraced by that information. Think about it; when describing mostly anything in America that is black or dark, it usually is sinister or it could be considered a form of evil. Remember, in the eyes of American society the bigger and darker a Black male is, the more of a threat te seemingly becomes to the general public.

The way America views the public is usually through our news media. The news generates the conversation of most communities and their affairs. The problem with reporting news is that they mostly go after the negative things that occur in society. These kinds of negative energies leave our communities with a bitter taste of fear lurking inside our subconscious minds that seems to leak into our conscious mindset during the course of a day. These negative thoughts floating around in our minds on a daily basis help to promote a form of anxiety not yet defined in the human mind as a psychological problem, yet it is.

The negative views of Black males in our nation have become a threat to African-American males all over this country. For instance, there was Mr. James Byrd, a Black male from Jasper, Texas. In 1998, he was tied up by three white males, then pulled with a rope by a pickup truck and dragged until his body fell apart, causing his death. These disastrous acts of crime committed on Black males in America are nothing new. It has gone on since slavery in this country.

The unbalanced way news is reported helps to create fear in the hearts of American society. It also causes anger and fear in our law enforcement. Police have shown that these stereotypical prejudiced ways of viewing Black males has become a threat to the lives of policemen. For instance, being pulled over for a traffic stop by a policeman, could lead to a Black male being maimed or killed by the officer. One of the latest was Walter Scott, a Black male killed in South Carolina. He was shot at by Police Officer Michael Slager eight times as he ran away after being pulled over for a simple traffic stop.

Other communities all around this country, along with law enforcement, have to take a look at the effects of how news is reported in American society, and on what, and how it can cause dangerous side effects, especially as it relates to these “Children of Slaves” known in America as Black males. As the proprietor of Woodard’s Barbershop at 5031 Diamond St. in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia, I hear their cries.

There are many Black males I have spoken with, both young and old, and the overwhelming majority have had unpleasant bouts with prejudiced communities and law enforcement. Most prejudiced communities are told to call police if they see someone who looks suspicious, and if you are a Black male outside of your own neighborhood, you look suspicious to any other community. Even our President Barack Obama mentioned in one of his speeches that before he became a senator, he experienced people looking at him suspiciously and locking their car doors as he walked by.

These types of prejudiced acts by police and fearful communities around this nation against innocent American citizens who just happen to be Black males must stop. However, it has to start with a better balanced news media. There must be more positive information on Black males. It will help the way news is reported, or we as a country will continue to see innocent American citizens shot down in our streets, not just by police, but also by communities, because of the fear of Black males.

Robert L. Woodard is a local barber and writer in Philadelphia.

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