Dear Ms DiManno,
It is, indeed, insulting to link poverty to crime. If this theory were valid, our planet would be a mass crime scene every day.
Countering crime and idleness with more basketball courts is nothing but a new politically correct approach, identical to that which, two decades ago, made police insist “there were no gangs in Toronto, rejecting the very word as a media exaggeration to describe rag-tag collectives of preying youths in pockets around the city.”, as you wrote.
Today, thanks to this politically correct policy, there are over 60 active gangs in Toronto.
And some community workers want… more basketball courts and “recreational diversion”?
Let’s see, any gang member or prospective one interested in planting some flowers or play Ibsen or Ionesco at the community theatre?
What about a chamber orchestra? Or perhaps ballroom dance?
Would chess “keep them busy”? Flying kites? Painting (on canvas, not buildings), arts and crafts, scrapbooking or knitting? Volunteering perhaps?
If these “social crusaders” cared about finding a solution and not only worry about losing government funding, they would come up with something better than “sports and recreational activities” like GO TO SCHOOL and GET A JOB!
It is not poverty that pushed them towards gangsta lifestyle, but their insecurity, lack of education, self-esteem and moral values and a chronic lack of sense of social responsibility.
And this attitude, in many cases, is passed down from generation to generation. Teenage, uneducated girls get pregnant and those babies grow up in a fatherless (or, on the contrary, with too many males in their lives) environment, in subsidized housing, living on social welfare.
Subsidized housing for generations and generations cannot boost aspirations, self-esteem or social responsibility.
These people live with none.
These children grow up with their grandparents, half-siblings or relatives, with the image of their stoned mother smoking weed or doing other drugs, changing partners and coming home in the morning, with a few bucks in her supersized bag.
This environment is anything but stimulating. This environment keeps individuals, generation after generation, in the same sticky swamp. The “helping” hand comes from gangs, as they give these children the illusion of a family, authority and security.
Many of these youths join gangs as they substitute the image of their non-present father or decorative-father with that of the gang leader.
Youngsters need rules and hierarchy. And they find both in gangs.
They have access to education and nobody needs a university degree to work, to be an honest and decent human being.
Thus, what keeps these teens from studying, from becoming plumbers, farmers, construction workers, cashiers, chefs, firefighters or doormen?
Is it, perhaps, a lack of respect for education within their communities? Could it be that being knowledgeable would push them down their group’s social ladder? Is it that criminal life = high status in their communities?
Is it the philosophy that “smart” people do not work, but drive expensive cars, walk with a hive of women and have golden wires in their mouths while “stupid” people wake up every morning to go to work?
It is not racist to make differences between different cultural groups and their perception on education. For instance, Jews, Asians or Indians commend education and wish their children to acquire a high level of education.
In China, the teacher is kept in great esteem.
It is racist not to discuss this issue.
Racist is to claim that black teens need more sports and recreational activities in order to be kept off gangs, suggesting that they are some sort of zoo exhibits who keep their calm if given a puddle of mud, a circle or a rubber ball.
Why not discuss family background and environment? Why not discuss teen pregnancies, single-parenting, drug addicted “mothers”, insecurity and lack of self-esteem? Why not discuss the dramatic erosion of the notion of family in the black community and the escalation of teen pregnancies in specific areas in Toronto?
“Areas in northwest Toronto, East York and Scarborough had clusters of neighbourhoods with higher rates than the city overall. Some neighbourhoods with significantly higher rates include Beechborough/Greenbrook, Weston, Glenfield-Jane Heights, Broadview North, Black Creek and Rustic.
Areas in southern Etobicoke, central Toronto, and North York had clusters of neighbourhoods with lower rates than the city overall. Some neighbourhoods with significantly lower rates include Lawrence Park South, Bridle Path-Sunnybrook-York Mills, Newtonbrook East, Leaside-Bennington, Rosedale-Moore Park and Markland Woods.”
(Toronto’s Health Status Indicator Series Teen Pregnancy, Inpatient Discharges (Deliveries) 2001 to 2009 and Therapeutic Abortions Summary, 2001 to 2009; Ontario Ministry of Health and Long- Term Care, IntelliHEALTH Ontario, Date Extracted: May 2011 (Inpatient Discharges) and July 2011 (Therapeutic Abortions Summary).
The following excerpt brings interesting information on black communities in Canada. It brings attention on the impact of the waves of new black immigrants upon older black communities.
Are crime and social deterioration in black communities related to the clash between new immigrants and already established century-old black communities? If so, what are the solutions?
A constant high level of immigration within short period of times is detrimental to any host society as the process does not allow a necessary period of absorption and establishment of the already existing groups.
It is like overwatering a plant in a pot.
“As the black population began to grow in the 1960s, therefore, there was already planted a network of organizations and an experienced leadership representing African-Canadian concerns and achieving remarkable success in changing the laws and reversing age-old discriminatory practices. In that same era African Americans launched the non-violent civil-rights movement, placing Martin Luther King’s image before the Canadian public both black and white, and movements for national independence swept the continent of Africa and the Commonwealth Caribbean. Black Canadians could recognize a community of interest that was truly global; a highly localized sense of identity was broadening under Canadian and international influences. At the same time, local community structures were changing. Governments were supplying services that church and charity organizations had earlier provided within the black communities, and secularism affected black churches as well as white. Black schools closed under the impact of anti-discrimination challenges or regional consolidation. Both the problems and the solutions that had occupied the black community for generations were being fundamentally altered.
In particular, the waves of new black immigration produced social conditions never before experienced by African Canadians, with implications for family and community structures. Migrations always produce demographic imbalances, but, in the case of black immigration from the 1960s on, the imbalances were especially pronounced. In 1991 the average age of a black Canadian was 27, compared to 34 for non-blacks. The black Canadian population had the lowest proportion of senior citizens (3 percent) and almost half were under the age of 24. This meant that a large percentage of the population was in school or training or seeking a first job. There was also a gender imbalance. Whereas among non-blacks about 51 percent of the population was female, among blacks it was 55 percent. To some extent, this figure reflects the phenomenon of split migration; it is not unusual for one partner to migrate first and send for spouse and family once established. The historical pattern is for that first migrant to be male. Among West Indians, however, the original migrant is most often female, and this has been the case since the mid-1950s. A major reason is that the Canadian marketplace, which assigns different occupational roles according to age, gender, “race,” and immigrant status, often has more employment considered appropriate for young black women than for other black people. So, in 1991, although the percentage of Caribbean-born adults who were married was higher than for other Canadians (54 percent to 47 percent), the proportion of single-parent families was quite substantial. Moreover, post-immigration strains in newly reunited families often produced marital breakdown and generational conflict. In 1991, over 13 percent of black families had a single parent, compared to just over 4 percent of other families, and over 90 percent of these black single parents were female. In the economic environment of the late twentieth century, this has tended to mean lower than average income levels and more reliance on public assistance. In Toronto, where they comprised 8 percent of the population, blacks accounted for 26 percent of the families receiving social assistance in 1990; in Montreal, where blacks were only 4 percent of the anglophone population, they represented 23 percent of families receiving services from the anglophone child-welfare agency, and Haitians were consistently over-represented among the clients of francophone care agencies. This situation was produced by the peculiar dynamics of Caribbean immigration; it did not represent the reality for African immigrants or for Canadian-born black families.”
(From: The Encyclopedia of Canada’s Peoples/African Canadians/Ames W. St. G. Walker)
These are a few topics the Canadian society, Mayor Ford and Minister Kenney should openly discuss with the black community, leaders or not.
Asking questions in order to find solutions is not racist.
Racist is not asking them.
If we keep sweeping the dirt under the rug, it will not miraculously evaporate, but become thicker and harder to remove.
Article posted in Crime, Crime (type), From CIR readers, Gang/Drugs/Organized crime, Guns/Shooting/Fatal shooting/Prohibited weapon, Other