I watched with concern as yet another unruly group of teens created chaos in Center City on Monday, purportedly with the help of social media.
The group circled City Hall by the hundreds, fighting amongst themselves and wreaking utter havoc until law enforcement responded. About 20 were cited for disorderly conduct, while at least four were being investigated for assaulting other teens in the group.
It is not lost on me that the teens were largely African American. That fact will fuel the preconceived notions of those who desperately want to see a link between race and unruly behavior. Those same people will happily gloss over the behavior of white young adults who riot after sports victories at colleges and universities.
Youth, and its reckless pursuit of boundaries, is the common denominator between the two groups. But there is a key difference as well. University students in suburban locales riot in celebration of their privilege. High school students in Philadelphia rage as a result of their lack.
That’s because Philadelphia’s children — and black children in particular — comprise a large percentage of impoverished Philadelphians.
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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon.