Breaking the Durham Gang Stereotype

Dear Durham City Council,

I was forwarded an email by long time Durham literacy advocate, Carter Cue , titled , “Bull City Youth Violence Cultural Intervention Program,” that was sent to the council , as well as other Durham public officials. Over the past two years there has been a constant cry for a “solution” to the violence that is plaguing our city. Since Mayor O’Neal and other council members have, recently ,challenged the community to take action, I believe that Mr. Cue’s solution is a viable option.

While I am not suggesting that gangs are nonexistent in Durham, if we are not extremely careful, in our zeal to ease public concern over the shootings in our city, we will come, dangerously, close to perpetuating historical stereotypes.

If we are honest, we will have to admit that the term “gang” is often used as a code word for young Black men. Historically, this stereotype has its roots going back centuries portraying men of African descent as being subhuman brutes. So, when reports are released of 2000 vicious gang members terrorizing the Bull City it gives credence to those negative images of African American men.

Also, using gang-centered solutions also helps to glorify street life and gives young , impressionable minds the false idea that shooting other Black men is some sort of rite of passage.

What Carter Cue offers is a way to reach African American youth by creating in them a positive self-image rooted in a strong African-centered history of achievement.

Since it has been reported in the media that Mayor Pro Tem Middleton said “it is time to put all options on the table “ to stop the gun violence in Durham, I hope that Carter Cue’s suggestion will be the main course.

Thank you,

Min. Paul Scott, founder

Black Messiah Movement

PO Box 15123

Durham , NC 27704

(919) 972–8305

Link to Carter Cue’s Proposal

Bull City Youth Violence Cultural Intervention Program | by Min. Paul Scott | Feb, 2022 | Medium

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Min. Paul Scott

Minister Paul Scott is a Durham NC activist and founder of the Black Messiah Movement