Violent crime: Whose problem is it?

 By ERROL TOWNSHEND

From time to time when gun violence flares up in clashes among Toronto’s Black youth, the Black community faces questions from media and spokespersons in the mainstream such as “what is the Black community doing” about Black-on-Black crime.

Leaving aside, for the moment, the consideration that crime, particularly violent crime, is a problem the entire society should be addressing, there are a number of possible initiatives that are largely within the purview of those who wield power in Canadian society.

The CRTC, which licenses radio and television stations, has a responsibility to ensure that the stations do not spread the virus that sustains and fosters the gangsta lifestyle that is at the root of much of the violence we read about daily. The CRTC is doing a lousy job in that regard.

That lifestyle is also fostered in our schools where, in many cases, students have large license to dress as they please. Thankfully, the new Afrocentric school, which has attracted so much needless negative publicity, has opted for school uniforms. Why haven’t our education authorities simply mandated its own school uniform – say, a plain white tee-shirt and blue jeans (with a belt!) – to suck the air out of what is clearly a contributing factor to this wave of violent crime threatening the future of Toronto. The very least that would do is help the pockets of parents who are faced, annually, with the cost of buying the latest name brand apparel.

Of course, there is nothing like a decent job to siphon off the Black youths who are a potential recruiting pool for the criminal element. We have had all kinds of studies and reports and the odd initiative by Queen’s Park in the Malvern area but the political will at all levels is lacking. Instead, we now hear what ethnocultural groups have long known, that having a non Anglo-Saxon name makes it much harder to get a job in Canada. It took another of those “studies” to prove that. It sure won’t take any study to prove how much more difficult it is for a youth with a Black face.

In the midst of all this, we have dinosaurs from Mike Harris’ Nonsense Revolution campaigning for John Tory’s job on a platform of scrapping the human rights commission.

While the violent crime problem festers, instead of increasing the time-honoured use of sports and recreation to divert youth from the crooked and broad path to crime, we have this silly tug-of-war over the closing of pools. We have even engaged the valuable time of one of our finest public servants, former mayor David Crombie, to sort it out. Of course, it has escaped everyone that the GTA is applying to stage the PanAmerican Games. Canada has become famous for staging these expensive international summer events and performing poorly, except when immigrants save our blushes.

Well, there won’t be many visible minority or immigrant kids from lower income families vying to become the Canadian answer to Michael Phelps if they close those pools. But then, given the culture of competitive swimming in Canada……. ahem.

So, there are a number of initiatives almost exclusively within the control of White mainstream movers and shakers. But if they won’t stop pointing the finger and start taking decisive and effective action instead of studying it, maybe the Black community will have to start asking its own question: “What is the White community doing” about White-on-White pedophilia, child abductions and murders and is there anything we can do to help?

Just a thought.

Ewat@rogers.com

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