Issues facing young people today

9/22/2016, 4:26 p.m.
When I was a youngster, full of energy and acting up, the old folks would say I was “cutting up.”
Youth/young people Contributed

When I was a youngster, full of energy and acting up, the old folks would say I was “cutting up.” Cutting up was fun. But it was never that serious. And would never have landed me in jail. This undesirable behavior was curtailed by not sparing the rod. A handy switch would bring you right back to your senses. Often it would never require a physical hit. In fact, just a frown on a parent’s face would send a signal to a child that enough was enough. Settle down and behave! Often, even a kiss and a hug could end “cutting up,” as an antidote to bad behavior.

Today, our jails are filling up with youngsters who are cutting up. In fact, prisons are sources of economic growth and have replaced mental institutions.

Now let me get to the nitty gritty. The legalization of marijuana in certain states may serve to help medical conditions, but at the same time it is in my belief an anti-motivational drug.

A few years ago, I attended Nazarene Church in Brooklyn and heard a sermon about the living conditions of slaves. I heard about how slaves who worked in the kitchen of the “high and mighty” were not allowed to take food back to their cabins for their meals. They could only take the “pot-likker,” which was water from cooked vegetable and meats. They survived working long shifts in the fields because of consuming the vitamin-rich nutrients in the broth. In fact, they mixed this broth with cornmeal and fatback for their evening meals. After explaining the nutritional benefits of pot-likker, the speaker went on to say how today “pot” and liquor are contributing to the downfall of our people. Hospitals, mental institutions and jails are filled with the negative effects of these mind-altering drugs.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Blacks make up 50 percent of the state and local prisoners incarcerated for drug crimes. And Black kids are 10 times more likely to be arrested for drug crimes than white ones—even though white kids are more likely to abuse drugs.

In fact, although Blacks account for 12 percent of the population, they comprise 31 percent of marijuana possession arrests, according to one study. With an overall marijuana incarceration rate that has doubled since 1991, whereas were arrested at 195 per 100,000 while Blacks were arrested at 598 per 100,000 for possession of marijuana. In general, youths age 15 to 24 made up more than half of all possession arrests.

In addition, our youngsters are also being subjected to additives in foods and beverages that are causing them to experience abnormal behavior. Back in 1976, Dr. Benjamin Feingold founded an organization whose sole purpose was to generate public awareness of how foods and synthetic additives adversely affect our health in the areas of childhood behavior, learning and mental health.

Many parents do not realize how chemicals such as artificial flavors, food dyes, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners such as Equal, Nutrasweet, Sucralose and Splenda all lead to hyperactivity, impulsive actions, short attention spans and poor sleep habits. For further information and to obtain a booklet on Behavior, Leaning & Health: The Dietary Connection, you may call at 631-369-9340 or toll-free at 1-800-321-3287. The website is www.feingold.org.