I just got home from an extended stay in my native Switzerland and came back to Harlem New York a week ago to a flurry of Google-Group messages from my building about a recent killing on our block and the aftermath thereof. Last night, a few minutes after I got home and after a day of seemingly peaceful block party a man got stabbed and bled to death in front of our building – it was 8 PM.
Violence is obviously something that finds you everywhere but we prefer to see it on the screen, not in front of our own houses or towards our loved ones and ourselves.
Violence perpetuates violence. But where does violence come from? Violence is a preemptive strike against fear. Fear of what? Fear of being ‘dissed’, or fear of being violated first; a verbal menace getting to the point where action needs to be taken to not lose face; a situation seemingly out of control being controlled by violence – on the street, in war, at home.
America has a huge tolerance for violence on the screen. I hear mothers tell me that they’d rather have their children see violence in movies, TV shows and video games than a naked body or an embrace. I could not disagree more.
Violence perpetuates violence. If children play violent games and watch overly violent shows that perpetuate violence as cool – no wonder there is such a lack of respect for other’s wellbeing. Especially if there is no parental guidance to make sure children understand what is real and what is not, and what the consequences of their (potentially) violent actions are.
I’d rather have children (and I have none) see a naked breast and an embrace on TV than violence.
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