This is an important book about the hopelessness that many young men in Canada feel when they grow up with absent fathers, suffer from racial profiling and aggressive policing, and find themselves in a crisis of distrust. When young men are hassled by police and marginalized in society because of the way they look, it affects their self-esteem and makes it very hard for them to find healthy affirmation and be able to point their life in the right direction. They become vulnerable to destructive ideas. When we wonder why young men fail to thrive at best and become radicalized at worst, it helps to have someone tell his own story and we should listen to it. Jivani almost bought a gun when he was a teen. He went home and cried, because he realized his life was headed in the wrong direction. He did not buy the gun, turned his life around, and ended up at Yale.
Jamil Jivani went to Brussels to study a community called Molenbeek, where the Paris bombers originated from. While he was there, the Brussels airport was bombed as well. He went to find out why this kind of place seems to breed some terrorists, but he mostly focused on how many, many more are living there, feeling misrepresented and lumped into the same category, making it even harder for them to participate well in society.
Jivani was recently diagnosed with a serious cancer which has made the achievement of writing this book even more meaningful but he is not without hope for a path to a better future, for himself and for society’s understanding of “why young men.”
Link to The Star article called: He wrote a book about the life choices that young men face. Then he got diagnosed with cancer.