Sunday, August 22, 2010

Locked Up

My nephew, who is 22, was recently sentenced to four (4) years in Folsom State Prison. Up until that time my nephew had never been in any trouble. It really hurt me that my nephew had become a statistic. Another young black man incarcerated.

In his first letter to me, my nephew explained why he ended up behind bars. He said,"I had a job but, it wasn't enough money. I made barely enough to pay my phone bill and buy food. I wanted to get the gold chain, nice clothes, nice car, and money in my pocket so I could kick it with my girlfriend. I had to do what I had to do."

I really don't know what to say about this microwave (I want it right now) generation. After reading his letter I went to his "My Space" page. I was greeted by some gangsta rap song that continued playing as I skimmed his page. There are pictures of him throwing up signs and posing as if he was a tough guy. There are a few vulgar words directed a some individual or groups unknown to me. There are also RIP epitaphs on the photos of some of his homies. I guess this was his way of expressing who he is.

After leaving "My Space", I thought about how much influence the Hip Hop Culture had on him. After all, he mentioned wanting to attain many of the things exhibited by rappers. Who, if anyone is the blame. ? Is it the "bling"," bling" of the BET and MTV videos? Environment? Parents?

I personally believe there is a correlation between Rap music, criminal behavior, drug use and increased sexual activity. So many young men look up to rappers and see them as role models. This is because they are inundated with images of diamonds, gold, cars, drugs, money and other visuals that fosters criminal behavior. There are other factors that influence such as, single parent, poverty, drug addiction and mental illness.

However, the parents are ultimately responsible for raising and teaching their children. It is imperative that parents step up and stop allowing the television, neighborhood drug dealers and pimps, to teach their children morals and values.

I made a commitment to support my nephew. With each letter I tell him how much I love him, he will make it through this and I expect great things from him. I also seek guidance from GOD about what words or life lessons I can deliver through my letters. I know that one day, my nephew will rise from this experience a wiser and stronger man.

Queen of Hearts

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