Young Men? Essay, Research Paper
Who is Responsible for Creating Violent Young Men?
When will the violence end? Who is to blame? Only so much fault can be placed on parents or circumstances alone. How can we, as a society, stand by and watch our sons kill and be killed? It all must stop now. Society needs to step up and take responsibility for creating these violent young men or nothing will change. But how can we end the violence? If it was as easy as just saying it, there would not be any problem to deal with.
Who should be held responsible for turning our innocent babies into ruthless killers? Most people do not want to believe that they are to blame for the violence. There is not just one group who is responsible. Many people are responsible. Whether it is by forcing these violent tendencies on to young men, or simply by turning the other way and not trying to find a solution to the problem.
Many people believe that some children are just born bad. This, of course, is a myth. Kids are not naturally bad. Violence is a learned behavior (APA Public). The children have to pick it up from somewhere. But where? Many of these kids pick it up in the home, media, or community that they live in. There are a variety of contributing factors that lead these young men down that violent path. Many of these children feel overwhelmed by peer pressure, low self-esteem, or a need for attention or respect (APA Help). Also many have easy access to guns or other weapons. Numerous boys have been abused and/or have been witnesses to violence (APA Help). There are a number of reasons that young men turn to violence. Some of those are; as a type of expression, manipulation, retaliation, or because it is all that they know.
Many boys today, are lacking a positive male role model in the home. Without that father figure in their lives to teach them the right way to become a man, it can be hard to find that right path. “The likelihood that a young male will engage in criminal activity doubles if he is raised without a father and triples if he lives in a neighborhood with a high concentration of single-parent families” (Horn). Studies have shown that 72% of adolescents charged with murder grew up without their fathers (Horn). Forensic psychologist, Shawn Johnston stated, “The research is absolutely clear…the one human being most capable of curbing the antisocial aggression of a boy is his biological father” (Horn).
Violence on television, in movies, and in music is also corrupting our youth. Three well-known studies all found that “heavy exposure to televised violence is one of the significant causes of violence in society” (APA Public). Televised violence has shown to cause people to be less trusting and more self-protective, along with desensitizing the person to violence. This type of violence is also known to potentially make the viewer want to become involved with some kind of violent act. Violence in television shows the viewer that through violence wanted items may be obtained. Sexual violence in t.v. has been proven to make young men more aggressive toward females. All of these effects are short as well as long term (APA Public). Young people should not be so exposed to violence, especially young men, when it is known that witnessing violence leads to committing it.
Many boys are not only witnessing violence on a screen, many are seeing it live. The communities that these young men live in are also partially at fault for this violence. In many inner-city communities there are two main routes these youths can take; be pushed around all the time, or stand up and fight. “In some areas of the country, it is now more likely for a black male between 15 and 25 to die from homicide than it was for a United States soldier to be killed on a tour of duty in Vietnam” (APA Public). Many of the same boys who are lacking a father figure in the home find someone in the community to teach them about being a man. A lot of times though, these are not positive role models. They are often gang bangers, drug dealers, and other bad influences. Many times children start hanging out with other so-called street kids at an early age and learn that they need to fight to gain respect in the streets. They are taught, not only by their peers, but also by their parents to be able to hold their own. Fighting is a necessity in many inner-city communities just for survival. It is very hard to get out or break free of that endless cycle (Anderson).
Society is at a point where they feel as though nothing can be done. Violence is rapidly becoming more common. The longer this violence goes on the more kids it will suck into it. The larger it gets the harder it will be to squash. Society has become accustomed to youth violence. Some adults are afraid to walk down the street in certain areas because they are afraid of what those “hoodlums” might do. Others just expect it of most young men.
Many people believe that these are just boys being boys until someone ends up dead. Boys are naturally more aggressive then girls (Cooper). But not to a point where they need to seriously harm or even kill someone. Some may say that they need to protect their manhood, but at what cost. Many inner-city young men tempt fate by putting their lives on the line to maintain respect (Anderson). It is time that we teach these boys that life is more important than respect, because how will they be able to experience respect if they are dead.
It is time for everyone to help turn this around. Youth violence is not just going to fade away. It is becoming much worse and more common. There are many things that have been proven to keep young men away from violence. So lets do them. We must help ourselves and our future by first helping these young men realize that violence is not the way. Who is responsible? We all are. Anyone who is not helping to find a solution to violent behaviors in young men, is part of the problem.
American Psychological Association(APA) Help Center. “Warning Signs of Teen
Violence: Reasons for Violence.” Nov. 14, 2000.
American Psychological Association(APA) Public Policy Office. “Is Youth
Violence Just Another Fact of Life?” Nov. 14, 2000
Anderson, Elijah. “The Code of the Streets.” Writing the World. Eds. Charles
R. Cooper and Susan Peck MacDonald. New York: Bedford/St.
Martin’s, 2000. 363-368.
Cooper, Charles R. and Susan Peck MacDonald. Writing the World. New York:
Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000. 346-352
Horn, Wade F. Ph.D. “Crime.” Father Facts. July 16, 1998. National
Fatherhood Initiative. Nov. 14, 2000. .