It’s well understood that minority youths are plagued by violence and lack of education. People of color don’t have it easy – many of the neighborhoods they grow up in are ridden with drugs, gangs, crime, and racist police, making it very difficult for young minority men to get a good education and enter the middle class. Part of this problem however, are our methods of dealing with young men who find themselves involved in crime.
We treat these young minorities as criminals, but most of them have no other options, and are surrounded by bad influences that lead them down this path. When we give someone a criminal record, we tarnish their record for life, and force them back into the criminal lifestyle that they so desperately want to escape. Corporations refuse to hire people with criminal records, making it impossible for them to get legitimate jobs. Colleges also discriminate against those with criminal records, not taking into account that not everyone comes from a privileged white two parent home in a low crime area. With no opportunities for employment or education, these young minorities are trapped in a life of violence and despair.
It’s an absolute outrage that in the 21st century, we still treat helpless children born into of crime ridden areas as the perpetrators of crime, rather than victims who have no other options. We need to create laws barring universities and companies from discriminating against applicants with criminal records. This may seem outrageous to some, but ask yourself this question: would you rather these young men were back on the streets committing more crimes? Or would you rather they entered the middle class? We cannot continue to perpetuate the cycle of white privilege, where rich, spoiled white children from stable families and peaceful neighborhoods continue to crowd out universities and get the best jobs. Something needs to be done to create a truly level playing field, which allows people of color to succeed and thrive like everybody else.