About Our Big Picture
Gary W. Green
For the third installment of our series “In the Shadow of Race,” social services reporter Kate Santich and I interviewed 13 young black men; discussing with them the role that race plays in shaping their lives. The African American men ranged in age from 15 to 28, coming from widely different backgrounds and families.
Many of them had no consistent father figure or strong male role models in their lives from early on. Some were in prison.Others were in college and running for political office. All had been racially profiled. And yet despite seemingly insurmountable barriers, most of them still aspire to rise up against the statistics and show the world that they are not what everyone thinks —they are better than that.
Their stories paint a cruel picture and an unfair set of circumstances placed upon a marginalized segment of society. Most of these young men just want to love, and be loved, with the chance to raise and support a family, while making a difference in their communities. Too many times, those dreams are never realized.
Each of their stories is different, but frighteningly similar. Their voices are haunting at times. My hope is that after watching the videos, seeing their faces and reading their stories, we as a society will have a little more compassion, tolerance and patience for these young men who clearly face an uphill battle to merely accomplish what many of us take for granted.