19-year-old Fred Barley rode a bicycle for six hours to register for college.
In America today, Black teens are mostly portrayed as dangerous, gun wielding menaces to society. For many years in Hollywood, a Black person could play only the stereotypical character like a gangster or a slave. This image of Black teens has been around for ages and is a big contributor to why many hold the biases against Black people.
For many years, we have battled against this stereotype, a battle that has not been easy. Even today, if asked why there are such high numbers of fatal shootings involving Black men and the police, the police’s response has been to cite higher crime rates in Black neighborhoods.
Since the media doesn’t really seem all that interested in destroying the negative image it helped create of the Black people, stories like that of 19-year-old Fred Barley never make it to the spotlight. But we should all make it our mission to make sure stories like these are heard.
The gallant 19-year-old Black teen rode his little brother’s bicycle from Conyers to Barnesville with only two duffel bags and two gallons of water to register for classes for his second semester of college. That is more than 50 miles!
It is the biologist major dreams of attending medical school someday. He had been living on Gordon State College campus for a while until the police found him last weekend. He had planned to hang around until he could move into one of the dorms on July 18. Meanwhile, he had been spending his time searching for jobs during the day. Young Fred Barley lives in a tent on campus.
There are many reasons why this teen deserves praise, but the biggest is his determination. He is a prime example of who we should all be; brave enough to go after the things we want no matter the difficulties. However, he wouldn’t have to face such difficulties if America had not created a system where Black people lack access to basic needs, like education. If not, this courageous Black teen wouldn’t have to travel 50 miles to get to the nearest college.
If the media stops focusing all its energy into portraying Black people in a bad light, people would hear stories like these more often. Then they would see some of the injustices Black people battle against.
Think about how badly you want to be in college. Then think about Fred Barley. https://t.co/Q8XADpE8GT
— USA TODAY College (@USATODAYcollege) 17 July 2016
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