Shannon Reed Jr.
October 6, 2017
Written by Shannon Reed Jr. Listen to Shannon and his father Shannon Reed talk about what it’s like being a man of color in Milwaukee in a recent episode of the Living Local Podcast.
What is it like to be a young man of color in the central city?
It’s the strong will and determination to strive harder every day to become the greatest version of yourself; that true vision of worth and royalty that you know is embedded within you. This fuels an indescribable drive to make your vision a reality. Obstacles and barriers start to become basic characteristics of life’s progression. It molds you into the beautiful creation that even the society in which you live in fears the infinite potential you hold.
I want all young men, in particular men of color, to truly understand the value that lies within and help them to express their passion through positive channels. To help guide their judgement to notice negative opportunities, typically glamorized within our society, that are the greatest barrier towards the longevity of our success. This is why fatherhood and/ or having or being a role model is so vital.
Young men need the opportunity to learn the basic skills of articulating themselves and maneuvering the various tribulations they will face.
Studies show that nearly 50% of black men have been arrested by the age of 23. This statistic is a hard barrier to overcome and it is one of the hindrances implemented to immobilize young men and have them tagged in an unjust system. A systemic blueprint is set to turn your very own environment into a trap.
I’ve faced a plethora of high-risked incidents where I was portrayed to be someone I was not. Sitting alongside my cousin, we were outside of my own home, and three police cars rushed towards us. They were moving with intensity as if they had justifiable evidence to detain their so-called perpetrators. Accused of a break-in that we later found out happened only moments before, we were frantic and helpless. Throughout the interrogation, one officer looked in my eyes searching for innocence. I took a slight breath, corrected the posture in my stance, I then started to speak with a vast amount of poise to the point that my demeanor preceded the situation at hand. We were then given the chance to explain the scenario, prove our innocence, to then return home after our two hour trial.
That traumatic experience is a bookmark in my life. Situations like these highlight the importance for young men of color to understand how to articulate themselves and maintain a positive appearance that will allow a greater chance of overcoming situations such as the one I went through.
Through cultivated knowledge, persistence, and determination to help our next generation of men, we will continue to exhilarate our infinite potential. As a community, it is our duty to pull the next man up for him to also see that same light that shines within. This is how our young men of color will excel and continue attaining the dreams that they are striving so hard for.