WILMINGTON — Some say it's all too common on the news, images of young Black men arrested for a crime.
We decided to find out how younger black men in our community feel about these negative stereotypes.
We met with three seniors from New Hanover High School. Darryl Pulliam, Montrel Jones and Michael Ballard are 18 years old and college-bound. We asked them what are some of the issues affecting young Black men?
"It's a lot of peer pressure going on, a lot of followers and no leaders," Pulliam said.
Ballard feels negative stereotypes hurt young black men.
"Some people might not expect me to be intelligent," he said. "I'll tell them that I'm student body president. I'm active in this group and that group, and they're like, 'Oh. Wow. Really?' And I'm like, 'What? I shouldn't be?"
All three were raised without their biological father at home. Studies suggest social issues at home like absentee fathers can make kids more prone to criminal behavior, but not these three, who chose to be different despite family and economic challenges.
Jones's childhood was tough at times.
"I didn't have the money, the clothes, and I just kept pushing myself and telling myself I'm not going to be like this when I get older, and I'm going to try to achieve as much as possible in life. Ihat's what I'm doing here today," Jones said.
Ballard says that all three guys had to make the choice to rise above their circumstances and be leaders.
"For me it wasn't thinking about today, but tomorrow," Ballard said.
In part two of our Young Black & Under Attack series, we will highlight a community organization that is helping kids to make the right choices.