Why Are Many Black Children Depressed?

Hello. In his 2015 Grammy award winning Rap Performance titled “I”, Kendrick Lamar writes, “I’ve been dealing with depression ever since an adolescent.”

After looking at the entirety of the Rap lyrics written by Kendrick, I recognize he and I have both tread in similar worlds or communities.

Kendrick doing so as a depressed adolescent, me as a often frustrated uniformed NYC police officer dealing with children suffering from depression. In my experience, depressed children who often resort to committing anti-social harmful acts against their peaceful neighbors.

I’d like to share one of my experiences in dealing with a child who was suffering from depression that apparently resulted from frustrations and anger he felt toward his mother.

I try to calmly relate my experiences, though I am told my writings are not always sensitive. I apologize if my frustrations seep into the my accounts of personally witnessing child abuse, as well as its affects on developing infants, toddlers, children, teens and their communities.

I am processing a mid-teen I arrested for stealing food and fighting to keep it when he got caught. I called his mother before speaking with him, when she arrived at the precinct I escorted her to the juvenile detention room, where the teen went-off on her, sharply criticizing her for ignoring him, for ignoring his brothers and sisters, blaming his mother for the situation he is in.

The kid was in tears as he verbally pummeled his mother, suggesting she did not love any of her children and the only reason she had them was to collect welfare to escape living with her own crazy, drug addicted mother.

I stood there numb, watching one of the most heartbreaking and disturbing, yet insightful moments I ever witnessed in my career. The kid had a mental breakdown venting what I assumed were years of built up frustration and disappointment.

Appearing unaffected by her son’s torment and outburst of emotion, his mother did not protest her child’s accusation, nor did she seem concerned about his fragile condition as she left the interview room “for a smoke” while he was still sobbing.

What do I say to this kid? How do I deal with a kid who rightfully or not believes he is not loved by his own mother?

What are his perceptions of me as a person responsible for protecting and helping people, yet I can’t help fix his problems, instead I arrested him?

This mother who apparently raised an emotionally abused and maltreated child said she was going for a smoke and never returned, abandoning her child, leaving him in the care and custody of the City of NY. I spent a hour trying to locate her before transporting the kid to a juvenile detention facility, which due to the kid’s emotional state was probably best for both of them at that time.

Not that many are concerned with spending/wasting government money, but this mom’s refusal to love, nurture and accept responsibility her child being released to her custody cost the City of New York four hours of overtime that evening. Four hours of overtime earned while dealing with a unloved, angry, frustrated child who at fifteen-years-old was charged with a crime because he wanted food to feed himself and his siblings.

Frankly, that was four hours of OT I could have lived without, though what I gleaned from this experience gave me more insight into the mind of a child born to a woman some pejoratively characterize as a “Welfare Queen.”

Certainly, I wish I could cure the ills and trauma experienced by a child that feels unloved, however I cannot. Though I can relate my thoughts and comments for improving the lives of children born to mothers imbued with a “clueless” mindset for raising children, and toward life in general.

Society should no longer tolerate people making babies as a means to escape the dysfunction of their own care-givers. Society needs to rethink our policies for ‘rewarding teens and young women with free cash for making babies.’

I believe a part of the solution for protecting children from “clueless” parenting is to utilize the same camera technologies we are proposing/demanding our police officers use to protect them and the public.

I am hoping when camera technology proves its mettle in protecting police officers, as well as identifying officers who require further training or officers who have no business serving the public in a LE capacity, we will use that same technology to protect children by monitoring the common area of homes in which caregivers have established a track record for failing to properly raise, nurture and/or supervise their children.

Recently I watched a video that saddened me as well as enlightened me when I learned child welfare investigators test the hair of child abuse victims for “ambient” exposure to drugs.

Holy smokes, the numbers were critical. At the least cameras would expose signs of intoxication in homes identified as requiring extra care to prevent children from being emotionally and or physically harmed.


In 1987 singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega garnered three GRAMMY nominations, including Record and Song Of The Year for her Top 5 hit about child abuse, “Luka.”

Suzanne nailed it, parents and caregivers do the most horrific things to their kids, yet many kids will defend their abusers, blaming themselves for their bruises and injuries before admitting a parent/caretaker harmed them.

“Yes I think I’m okay

I walked into the door again

Well, if you ask that’s what I’ll say

And it’s not your business anyway”

Most kids will clam-up rather than say an ill word about their abusers. However, I’ve met a few child abuse victims whose level of frustration with their caregivers pushed them to make poor choices causing the police to become involved…and subsequently reveal their true feelings, as the young teen I arrested in the anecdote I shared.

Kendrick Lamar writes, “I’ve been dealing with depression ever since an adolescent.”

I do not know Kendrick or the cause for his childhood depression. I’ve searched my memory file for times in my past when depression may have crept in. I can’t think of any as a kid, except for the time I forged mom’s signature on a 6th grade report card and got caught, sending mom into a rage I’d never witnessed before or after. She was wholly upset that I was a cheat and liar, engaging in a act contrary to all her schooling about honesty and truthfulness. Mom’s reaction made me depressed because I hurt and disappointed her, real bad.

Reading Kendrick’s lyrics I am fairly certain he’s grown up knowing depressed kids like the fifteen year-old I arrested for thievery.

Suzanne Vega is a Grammy nominee who wrote lyrics about child abuse and how many children will deny they were abused by their caregivers.

Kendrick Lamar is a Grammy winner who wrote rap lyrics that include expressing signs of child abuse.

Considering he has decided to share his thoughts and experiences with the entire world, I am curious to know what Kendrick believes caused him to be a depressed adolescent?

I am also curious to learn Kendrick’s opinion for why some/many of today’s lyricists characterize women as “witches and bhores” in their music, totally unlike the artists from earlier generations, most all who praised and loved women – aka their moms, sisters, grandmas and daughters.

protect-kids-from-irresponsible-caregivers

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