In the past, I’ve commented on the plight of black teens and men with invisible bullseyes on their bodies; targets crying out for acquisition that seemingly only the police can see. But I don’t know if I can keep doing so.
That’s because there are two worlds existing simultaneously in the black community; the world of the predator and the world of prey. And like all humans, blacks are no different in that they exist in both of those environments, at times performing the functions of one or reconciling the actions of the other.
And while all men kill with the quickness, I’m only concerned right now with young, African-American men and women. And to those that say such narrow-minded and singular accusations or self-help suggestions don’t work if you don’t include all men, I would say to them heed the poem from jazz bassist, composer and band leader Charles Mingus: “Let my children hear music. You can do what you want with yours.”
When they are prey, it’s at the hands of the predator police as well as their own peers. Yet, many see emphasis placed only on those killed by officers of the law. Victims of black-on-black crime, they feel are never overtly acknowledged as such, so responsibility is never truly laid where it needs to be; or should I say, where it needs to be that does the most good. And you know, they, whoever they might be, are right.
The latest in this growing demographic of black prey victims is 6-year-old Kingston Francis of Madison County Mississippi, the victim of a carjacking, shot multiple times, including once in the head, by three young, black men. The New York Daily News reported that initially the family thought Kingston was alive and only found out later that he had been killed. What happened; what made three men shoot a child multiple, *ucking times?
D’Allen Washington, D’wan Wakefield and Byron McBride will all be charged as adults with capital murder but I ask again, what happened? You start out with a carjacking and it turns into a cold-blooded killing. How; because people want to keep what’s theirs? Why; did this courageous young boy challenge you, ask what you were doing in his mom’s car? Here’s a concept for you; what about getting a damn job and stop preying on your fellow man!
These three are our current faces of responsibility; with the way we’re rolling, I’m sure there will be others. But for now, it’s these three I want us to consider for their evil deed. Ask ourselves a hard question. What do police actually perceive when they see this type of reporting; when they read these types of circumstances? They see-mistakenly or otherwise-a people that don’t give a damn about each other. So to them, it stands to reason that we damn sure don’t give a f*ck about them, either. Now, ask yourself, if you were they, would you risk your life for you? Deep, ain’t it?
Think about Chicago, Philadelphia and other urban areas besieged by violent crime and then ask yourself, do the past and current actions of young black men and women-actions mostly taken against each other- influence real-time police decisions of life or death? If you were a cop, would such incidents influence how you react when you came into contact with African-Americans?
I’m just tired folks; tired of seeing our children getting gunned down in the street by knuckleheads. No amount of Police reform or political party attention, however well intended, can cure this ailment of our community. I’m tired of it and it’s past time we all should be equally so. And maybe we all are but our continued silence belays our troubled hearts and stifles the change we so desperately need. And it’s a change that, if it’s gonna come, it’ll have to come from us. That’s because the faces of responsibility are our own black ones.
Photo of young Kingston is taken from Facebook (New York Daily News); photos of Washington, Wakefield and McBride are from the Madison County Sheriff’s Department