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Black Males and America's Labeling System

by W.T. Purnell, Jr.

The recent shooting of a Black Male in Alabama by a Forest Ranger is an example of how Black Males are being abused by our system of justice. Black Males are being killed in this country everyday by Police Officers, and these killing in most cases are due to this Labeling System that has always existed in our society. Black Males for years in this country have often been subjects of these kinds of killings. It is time we addressed this issue, and stop covering up the fact that it does exist. This is a real problem in America, and if not properly handled we as a nation will suffer in the years to come. Black Males will not continue to be subjects of America's System of Attaching Labels and Law Enforcers Abuse in Authority. They fight back.

America experienced a small sample of what can happen in California, when Police Officers fail to conduct themselves in an ethical and professional manner. What happened in Alabama should send a very clear message to the Black Communities across America that it is time to stop this mal treatment of our Black Men. When we see officers such as a Forest Ranger shooting an unarmed Black Man that should affect every Black Man in America and White Men also, because this was certainly a Cold Blood Killing.

The society that we live in labels Young Black Males early in life. In the Public School Systems Black Males are the targets, when in most cases it is the White Males who are the major problem cases for the Police Officers. I do believe that we have some control, when Police Officers are present in the Public Schools. However, I understand that what those officers do in many cases is target Young Black Males. They label them as Bag Boys early. Once this Labeling Process takes place, you then have a youth who feels alone, and in most cases feels that he does not have any support system. Because of this Labeling System many Black Males are expressing anger. The Black Male who was shot in Alabama was angry that he was being pulled over by a Forest Ranger. Most of us would be somewhat upset if we were being pulled over by a Forest Ranger.

Black Males in the Public School System deal with anger early in life. They may come from homes that are disfunctional,, but that compiled with outside maltreatment can drive a youth to become a Behavior Problem Child in the classroom. We need to start identifying problems across the board, when we evaluate the behaviors of these youth. Schools should be provided with the necessary resources needed to reach all the students. The Student Rights Act was established to assist Parents and Teachers, but in most cases it is lack of resources.

I believe that Public School could do more for students with Behavior Problems, and Learning Problems if schools learned to identify the fact that a different exists between the two. A Behavior Problem should not be totally associated with a Learning Disability. Sometimes that can be the case. However, in most cases we have a conflict with Behavior Problems and Learning Problems. All teachers need to be aware of the different Learning Styles, and every state should enforce the rules of Students Rights. Every child has a right to be educated in America, and "NO Child Should Be Left Behind". Remember that events like the Black Male being shot can also effect how Black Males Act. The message they receive is that they are targets.

Published in In Motion Magazine August 7, 2001.

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