Recent video news footage of young Black girls with bats smashing an automobile at a gas station was shocking. It was followed days later by the now infamous hazing footage of White high school girls in Illinois smearing feces on graduating juniors and bashing them across the head with their fists and other objects.
These images should send a chilling message to this society, but it also is an example of what’s happening to youth in this America as a whole.
Historically, it has been the young Black male that wrongly has been portrayed as the source of everything that’s wrong in America. The savagery of the recent acts by young girls is an indication of the depths to which this society is sinking.
It is said that the level of civilization of a nation can be judged by the condition of its women. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that “a nation can rise no higher than its woman” and that 75 percent of his work is with the reformation of women. He also said that when you teach a man, you teach an individual. But when you teach a woman, you teach a nation.
These references to the female indicate how central she is to a society. The imbalance of the treatment of women in eastern and western societies offers reasons to why the world is in such an imbalance.
Closer to home, it is imperative that Black leadership turn more attention to young Black girls. Where are the examples of what real womanhood is all about? Certainly, there are strong Black women who are taking care of business at home and in the business world, but they are not the ones who get the broad exposure to most of our youth.
Unfortunately, the images of Black womanhood that many of our girls are exposed to come across MTV and BET. And when they finish watching the vulgarity of the music videos, they turn to the sit-coms where Black womanhood means generating a laugh, not making you think.
Given the impact of the media on the thinking of the people and shaping of society, it is no wonder that our girls are acting out what they see on television and accept as “normal” behavior.
The result of this–coupled with the racist nature of this society–is that Black girls are now over-represented in the criminal and juvenile justice systems and are more likely than all other youth to be victimized by violence.
The American Bar Association and National Bar Association said in a 2001 report that the number of delinquency cases involving Black girls increased by 106 percent between 1988 and 1997, compared with an increase of 83 percent for all girls.
This is just one statistic for Black girls, a group that has gone under America’s radar screen. In addition, the levels of rape and incest are further destroying our young girls. “Rape is the murder of the essence of a female,” writes the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
A cornerstone of the Million Man March was the call to respect and protect our women. Two million men on the Mall in Washington took the pledge, along with millions more at home. This is a pledge on which we cannot renege.
If this world wants to change its course from a descent into hell to an ascension into heaven, then it must change how it treats its women.