Black teenagers need role models to divert them from a world of gangs and criminality, according to a new study.
Young black men are apparently being increasingly lured into trouble by rap stars, celebrities and sportsmen who glamorise the wrong sort of lifestyle. According to Reach, a Government advisory panel, this is causing them to have low aspirations resulting in them to drop out of school and be drawn into gang-related trouble.
The problem is so widespread that it could cost the UK Â£24 billion over the next 50 years in terms of lost taxes, criminal justice and healthcare costs. In order to curb this trend black men need to be inspired by successful businessmen, lawyers and doctors to replace the gangster role models that exist today.
The report, which was commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government, wants a national programme to encourage successful professionals to become mentors for black urban teenagers. It also says that there should be stronger relationships between teachers and the parents of black boys and urges Ofsted, the school inspection body, to ensure that schools strive to close the academic gap between black and white pupils.
The report recommends the formation of a national umbrella organisation to bring together relevant voluntary groups which face “significant barriers” to getting funding from the Government. There are growing concerns that young, black men are more likely than their white peers to be excluded from school, become victims of crime, or be jailed for committing offences.
Clive Lewis, the chairman of Reach, said: “What we need to do is reach the generations who are coming up behind today’s young people. “There is an urgent need for a change of thinking about some of the role models that our young people are drawn to.
“We need to shift focus from rap stars, sports personalities and celebrities to successful businessmen, lawyers and doctors and show that these are professions that young black men can enter and do well in.” The group interviewed 400 young men in Nottingham, London, Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham and found a strong link between low aspirations and the lure of the gang culture.
Over the last year there have been a series of murders and gun crimes carried out by young black men in urban areas. In inquest is currently being heard for Jesse James, the 15-year-old schoolboy who was shot dead as he rode his bike in Moss Side, Manchester last September.
A few days after his death another black teenager Nathan Williams, 17, was killed near his home in Nottingham. In February this year three black teenagers were shot and killed in 11 days in South London.