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My Friday Column (Only three days late!): When Keepin' It Real Goes Wrong

What's crackin' friends and frienemies? An uneventful Monday to you.

So last Friday's column, which I neglected to post for you on Friday, was about the dangers of keepin' it real, at least in the context in which that phrase is commonly used these days.

The topic was timely for me, 'cause I was already planning to write about a group of successful men who've been gathering in a troubled neighborhood here in South Florida to talk with boys and young men about keeping their lives in order, staying focus, making something of themselves, etc.

The notion may seem generic, but until someone comes up with a better solution - like forcing parents at gunpoint to spend quality time with their impressionable sons - then I applaud any man who will take time out of his day to share with kids who aren't his the story of how he made it, and how they can too.

But it wasn't all uplifting speech. The main speaker at the group's gathering last week had planned to speak to the boys and young men about building character. Then he heard about the beating death in Chicago of 16-year-old honor student Derrion Albert, by alleged gang members. So he decided to alter his talk about to address the issue of the gang members who are charged with killing Albert committing that murder, because he inadvertently interrupted their rumble, and they "had to" punish him.

They kept it real. Now, they're likely going to prison for decades, if not life.

Using the definition that says a "real" man has to respond and react to every perceived slight, I've never been big on keepin' it real.

Like Dave Chappelle used to point out on his former Comedy Central series, keepin' it real can get you beaten up, fired, or locked up. Emphasis on that last one, 'cause I am too pretty to go to jail.

Anyway, if you have time, check out the column here.

BTW, follow me, please: http://twitter.com/jamesburnett.

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Always a good column. I think that these kids won't understand unless the behavior is modeled for them on a consistent basis and the results of that behavior are evident to them. A change of environment is also necessary, of course.

Maybe a program by which these kids can be temporarily adopted for a prolonged period of time by good people could be put together.

Something's gotta get done.

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