How To Stop Black Male Homicide In South Dallas?
Love is the key to ending urban violence. This solution sounds unrealistic and esoteric, but many young black men have never felt love by their fathers specifically and society generally. This lack of love from their fathers leaves a sense of worthlessness. Moreover, when these young brothers feel worthless, they experience anger and place no value on their lives and the lives of other young black men particularly, making black male homicide easy.
White America is also at fault, in extraordinary ways. White America has used its considerable power to teach us blacks in every way possible and for several centuries that we’re worthless, cursed, wretched, inferior, forsaken, unloved, and much more. Whites communicate this message in subtle ways via mass and social media. They also taught it in glaring ways through slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, systemic racism, police brutality and by neglecting urban neighborhoods economically, to name a few methods. This fusion of racism, oppression, broken families and economic neglect created poverty and despair in South Dallas that became a perfect environment for murder.
However, there’s hope! We can change this murderous environment if we’re willing to love these young men. But how can love affect policies and bring change, you may ask? I offer five ways how love can practically bring a better future through better policies.
1. Jesus equals love. Foremost, I’m a preacher of the Gospel, and I can’t sincerely discuss love without first discussing Jesus. He showed the greatest act of love in human history by dying for a rebellious and disobedient human race. His sacrificial death was the ultimate act of love. His example of selfless love can guide our expressions of love and inform our policymaking. Reaching and teaching these young men with and about the love of Christ is the duty of churches in South Dallas.
2. Mentors equal love. When we take time from our hectic lives and spend it mentoring these forgotten young men, we’re showing them, great love. We’re showing them they matter a lot. What’s more, mentoring provides an opportunity to teach them the values that produce success.
Mentors for these young men will likely have to come from outside South Dallas. This need requires that some black men come back into neighborhoods they’ve been trying hard to escape. I get it. However, coming back to the ghetto to save lives shouldn’t be a deal breaker since true love involves sacrifice as Jesus showed us.
3. Jobs equal love. These young men need jobs. Unemployment is still very for young black men. Jobs are virtually nonexistent where they live. The white power brokers refuse to invest and develop economic opportunities in South Dallas, while wealth and opportunities abound in North Dallas. Hence, many of these young black men resort to violence from drug dealing because they need money to survive. It’s no mystery.
At a recent community meeting where the topic was reducing violence, not one person talked about economic development in South Dallas. The solution most people discussed was hiring more police officers. That’s a terrible answer. South Dallas is already over policed. What South Dallas needs is more good paying jobs, economic development, better schools, stronger families and much more. Invest in economic development rather than more cops.
4. Education equals love. Providing these young men effective schools shows them love, dignity and respect. These young men believes no one cares about them when their schools are failing, dilapidated and filled with apathetic teachers. Such schools send a powerful message to them that their futures don’t matter. These young men know city and county leaders are setting them up for failure and placing on the school to prison pipeline when city and county leaders relegate them to forsaken schools. Who are we kidding? It’s a very unloving act to intentionally or knowingly cripple young men academically by neglecting and underfunding the schools they attend.
5. Justice equals love. Injustice abounds in inner-city neighborhoods. It’s everywhere. There’s racial, economic, environmental, corporate, healthcare, police and prosecutorial injustice, and this list certainly isn’t complete. Nothing good comes from widespread injustice, like throwing salt water in a wind storm, it’ll boomerang to burn the eyes of the perpetrators.
Please don’t scoff at this love talk. The Scriptures tell us that love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8), and love’s greater than faith and hope (1 Corinthians 13:13). When I ride through or do outreach in South Dallas, I see a community that the rest of Dallas doesn’t love. I see a people that the rest of Dallas doesn’t love. Why wonder then when murders spike in South Dallas?
The young men in South Dallas will love themselves when we love them. And when they love themselves, they’ll love others and murders will decrease, maybe even vanish. A little love on the frontside will save us lots of grief on our backside.