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High schools students in Illinois took a video project to the halls of their school as they bedazzled the stereotypic image of black teens of today. These young men came to school dressed in suits, portraying an image that questions the inherited media image of the black teen.
“We’ve gotten a bad rap for a long time,” Central High senior Hayden Hinton says. “People think that we’re thugs or gangsters when in reality, we can be business men and scholars, and important people in the community.”
The image promoted in the video shows our young black students in a good light. They are playing sports, dancing, volunteering, working, and studying.
“It’s (sic) a counternarrative that you can write your own story and don’t let any else — the media, other people – tell your story; tell it for yourself,” Tiffany Gholson, Central High School Social Worker, explains. “The negative stories told daily in the media and in our culture about our young African-American men tend to ignore their successes and don’t tell the full story about how young black men are becoming leaders within our community schools.”
This project is well represented, and should be duplicated over the country. Many are bothered that this project has to be done in order to prove the integrity of the black culture; but the truth is that, we all have a lot of work to do even if the blame didn’t start with the black community.
“As nice as it is to see these young men looking sharp, they shouldn’t have to prove anything. Their clothing isn’t the problem. What is, is that they had to make this video at all,” said Liz Dwyer.