Mourning Young Men
Today the man who does maintenance for my condo complex came by with a new air conditioner filter. He and I often speak about his family and I usually give him muffins or cookies to share with his fellow employees or his family. I feel that, in a sense, we have become friends.
He has told me, over time, about the problems he has experienced disciplining his teen-age son. I knew that his son had gotten himself in trouble with the law in our area. I asked my friend about his son today. I was so sad when he said that his son is in jail, and that he feels more relieved than he had before his son was arrested. He said that he, at least, doesn't have to worry about his son being killed on the streets.
White men with money almost never see their sons in jail, unless the freely opt to leave their sons there. My friend is a responsible worker, husband, and father, but his son is only seen as safe in jail. Did my friend, like I did (though his father bailed him out), opt to leave his son in jail to teach him a lesson? Is this the best that men of color in my country can hope for in dealing with their teen-aged sons? Are jails in America the only place that teenagers can be protected from the consequences of their own existential rage?
What more do men have to do to teach their sons to channel there emotions into something other than mindless aggression?