Sunday letter: Teach youth their possibilities

August 4, 2013 

— As one of the most articulate, thoughtful and deliberate writers of The State, Warren Bolton, in his July 24 column, “Protests mean nothing if we don’t save our black boys,” once again goes below the surface and identifies the real crisis facing not only African-Americans, but all Americans.

What is the message being conveyed to African-American children by the protests and the rhetoric of those who only seek to incite? Those who instill fear and distrust without offering alternatives, who blame without teaching responsibility and who expect others to change, are doing irreparable damage to their children, who are part of the future of this country.

If children are taught to see themselves as victims, they will never get past the limitations that their elders are placing on them. They will learn mistrust and hatred and, yes, racism. Instead of learning to be part of the fiber of society, they will learn to be the fringe.

I am not saying that children should not be made aware of the realities. I am saying that those realities should be presented alongside the possibilities and the alternatives. Who are their role models and teachers — rappers and “gangstas” or parents and other adults who will help them reach beyond today?

Maria Gonda Smoak

Columbia

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