There is no one reason for black on black violence
We've spent a lot of time this week debating the senseless killings of four young Toronto boys, all black and all seemingly innocent. I have a bit of a hard time with this issue because it seems like we just put the same record on every time there is a particularly outrageous example of what we know to be a chronic problem. And it seems everyone uses the issue to trot out their favorite hobby horse: young blacks get into trouble because they don't have fathers, they don't have faith, they don't have enough basketball courts. They have no mentors, Jamaicans have a cultural problem blah blah blah.
There's truth to every one of these assertions which is why we need to answer every last one of them. You can't force a bunch of teenagers to go to church or legislate parenting. What we need is one person to pull it all together, a strong leader with a lot of lattitude to implement solutions we've been talking about for twenty years.
A visit from the chair of Caribana to the show this morning sparked a lot of reaction. Knia Singh talked about the toxic soup of racism that blacks face from a young age. He says he had the resilience to confront it and shake it off because his parents proofed him against it at a young age. A listener wrote in with his own account of how his family buttressed him against ignorance and discrimination: "I can tell you this first hand. If it was not for my FAMILY'S (mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, uncle etc...) VERY STRONG sense of self, all 5 children would have failed in this country. We fought back BLANTANT racial attitudes with information".
There are no quick fixes for what ails this city's black population. But it's worth bearing in mind that poverty, crappy neighbourhoods and lesser schools are part of the problem. What they say about young black men today is what they once said about Irish Catholics in this town.
But I think young guys like Knia Singh are definitely part of the answer.