Monday, August 26, 2002

Black parents 'mortified' after melee




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        Christopher Bomar is “sick and tired of excuses for violence” that followed a hip-hop concert at the Black Family Reunion on Aug. 17-18. But here's a surprise: He's not an angry white guy from the west side. He's an angry black guy from West Chester.

        Cincinnati can't wait to “move on” and forget the mini-riots downtown. Assaults, vandalism, gunshots and rock-throwing by thousands of young black males is an unpleasant reminder that the black family tree has some dysfunctional branches 1/2ndash 3/4 and it has nothing to do with racism.

        But before we leave it all behind, listen to Mr. Bomar's voice of sanity.

Parents don't care

        “I am a parent of four children, one of them a 14-year-old, and we are an African-American family. I don't think the behavior we saw last weekend was simply "what young people do' because I know better,” he wrote in an e-mail last week.

        “I grew up in the 70s on the west side of Cincinnati and most of my friends' parents knew where we were and who we were with, even as teen-agers. Nowadays, many parents are happy to get their teens out of the house, no matter what the cost or where they go and who they're with.

        “I live in West Chester now and when I saw the news reports Saturday night I was angry, embarrassed and disgusted. I thought, "Thanks, kids, you just made life harder for all of us, especially black business people like me. And you just made it harder for people to consider hiring you for jobs that are already hard to come by. I hope you're proud of yourselves.' “This city has enough racial tension to spare, but I know that this weekend gave some white people loads of ammunition and justification for racist beliefs that only set our whole city backwards. And guess what? I don't blame them. To have a Black Family Reunion in the midst of a citywide boycott when other events have been torched, costing the city and businesses tens of millions of dollars, I would be (ticked)-off too.”

Not a "racial thing'

        “I believe that the majority of blacks in the Tri-State are mortified at the violence and think poorly of the people responsible, but until everybody stops making excuses for violence, both the police and civilians, our city will always be the blight of the Midwest.”

        Here's another one from Colleen Mercer of Glendale: “There is no excuse for that kind of behavior,” she wrote. “They need to start arresting the parents along with their children when this display of irresponsibility happens.

        “The first thing you will hear from the Black United Front is "it's a racial thing.' Bull, it's a home-training thing. Get control of your children and teach them some respect and responsibility! By the way, I am an African-American female with a 20-year-old son and he was never without supervision at these events when he was a teen.”

        Good parents like Bill and Colleen are the majority. We need to hear more from them and less from the protesters who use racism as a one-size-fits-all excuse.

        E-mail: pbronson@enquirer.com. Past columns at Enquirer.com/columns/bronson

       



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