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 3 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? Darryl Pulliam said, "It's a lot of peer pressure going on, a lot of followers and no leaders." Michael Ballard feels negative stereotypes hurt young black men. "Some people might not expect me to be intelligent, 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. Montrel 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 that's what I'm doing here today." Michael 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." 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.
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