The last thing we need is another study to waste more time and more money. We need focus on education, positive role models and providing hope. Many of those in the older generations just don’t get it and the greatest thing that needs to be done is to listen to the youth in order to understand how to address the youth’s problems. We need to afford every Bermudian the opportunity to study abroad. We need positive role models and we need to put hope in the youth that they can have a great future.
The Royal Gazette has a number of gems with regards to understanding the crisis of young black males and this isn’t one of them:
37 year old Gladwin Johnson, suggested “I think a lot of them need more structure and a path, maybe they should drop the Bermuda Regiment age from 18 to 16 and make it mandatory.
“Because right now they get a bike at 16 and that’s it, they’re gone. There is no control over them. But if they were in the Regiment it could give them some options and ideas about what to do.”
Absolutely not. Far too many in the community hold this delusion that the Regiment is a fix-all to our youth’s problems. In reality, many youth enter the Regiment, struggle the whole way fighting the system and enter having gained little insight into life aside from that the system will always break you. Regiment does not have the time nor the resources to educate the youth on the reasons why the lessons taught are useful and thus Regiment is viewed with contempt and lacks respect from a great many youth who enter it, myself included.
However, if you listen to the youth, they explain exactly what the problem is and they indirectly describe the solutions that are needed.
17-year-old student Mikkail, said a lot of them felt they had no opportunities or real future.
He said :”What’s the point in staying in school? As a young black guy if I finish school I still don’t have anywhere to go other than to sit on the wall.”
The youth have no vision of what they can attain by working hard. Paint a picture of what they can achieve through hard work. Provide real opportunities for housing and a good life in Bermuda. Provide hope.
24-year-old Omar said many young black men felt there were road blocks preventing them from succeeding.
“We hear that the education system is a mess,” he said. “And we’re expected to go on to Bermuda College, why bother?
BINGO! Our youth need opportunity and exposure to the world. We need to be selling further education abroad not simply for the future in it but some of the really great experiences one walks away with. Namely parties and women. Generally the youth haven’t lived long enough to understand why they should care so much about their future, they need to live to understand why. Persuade them by giving them the opportunities to live and better their future. We do not need another study, what we need is to ensure every single young Bermudian is provided the opportunity to pursue education abroad.
“And there is all this money in Bermuda but we aren’t getting it. So we go to construction sites but there wasn’t any technical training at schools so we didn’t do it.
“And you see people from away with the training being paid twice what you are. It’s just real frustrating and it doesn’t look like it’s changing.”
Is there an echo in here?
Mr. W, 61, echoed Omar’s comments and said more technical education was needed in the public schools.
“We need to find a way to engage them, and we need more technical options in the schools. I read that there will be 3,000 more jobs in the next three years and a lot of them will be for construction. We need to engage the young men and show them how to get involved. ”
Forget Regiment, increase technical training to provide real opportunities for those who want to take hold of them.
36-year-old Mistry said “They don’t have many role models on this Island, and the people they are holding as role models are not going down the right path.
Start a campaign that promotes successful Bermudians. Focus on providing real positive role models. Profile the lives of successful Bermudians tell their stories and spread their message throughout the island. Provide hope that you actually can achieve things if you work hard. Put posters on benches and in bus shelters, on walls and in places where they’re visible. Spread the message that there are successful Bermudians, especially black Bermudian males, who have made their dreams come true. Whether it’s a great family, a high profile career, having the boat they always dreamed of, anything and everything that is positive that youth can look at and say “I could see myself being that guy”. Role models!
Mistry continues: “They seem to have this glorified outlook on life that they can get money without getting an education, but they need to realize that they need to go down traditional paths.”
That’s because the only role models many youth see are from the gangsta lifestyle and they think, “maybe if I deal drugs, act tough, be violent and live the life of a gangsta one day I’ll be rich and have everything.” It’s a delusion because 99.9% of people who attempt to make it in such a lifestyle don’t. The very simple reason why women don’t share the same problem is because there are far less women who serve up that persona that being a gangsta is the way to be.
Meanwhile lawyer Charles Richardson, who famously rehabilitated himself after being jailed for a nightclub shooting, said he hoped this study would actually be completed.
This is exactly who I’m talking about. Profile him and other people who have turned their lives around. Profile those who stayed the course. Target the youth by providing real world role models that they can relate to from every situation and spread the message like a virus.
Earlier in the week Dr. Brown said:
“If this one is going to be completed then I think it’s a good idea to do it,” he said. “There is a problem and this study is long overdue.
We don’t need another study! It will do little more than waste more time, more money and pay little more than lip service to the real issues. Listen to the youth. Provide real opportunities for all Bermudians to study abroad, start a campaign of promoting positive role models and provide hope to the youth that a great future is within their grasp.