Saturday, May 31, 2008

News and Observer Letter to the Editor 5/31

Dear Editor, ]

As a community activist who often deals with Durhamyouth, I am concerned about the pending Street Gang Suppression Bill that is scheduled to go before the NC House of Representatives. Although, there have been incidents of youth crime in the state, this issue hasbeen blown out of proportion by politicians.

Frankly, I think that many politicians have watched old gangsta movies like Boys in the Hood, too many times. The main failure of the bill is that it fails to clearly define what constitutes being in a gang. This lack of clarity leaves the possibility of "Hip Hop"profiling wide open. Since the typical Hollywood portrayal of a "gang" member is a young black male,the proposed law will, disproportionately, effect the black community.

This is especially troubling for a community not too far removed from Jim Crow Laws that made it illegal for black people to gather on street corners. The community must not cave into a bill that is based more on fear than reality.

To borrow from an old song by Buffalo Springfield"paranoia runs deep, into your life it will creep.