On my mama, this isn’t a post rallying African Americans to “do better.” This isn’t an entry clamoring for the recognition of injustices to the young Black. It’s none of that. I’m not an activist and this isn’t something to that will be known which began the second coming of the Civil Rights Movement. Yesterday, while sitting in the library waiting on class to start I had some down time and decided to surf the web.
Truthfully, I wasn’t looking for anything in particular. One of my stops happened to be CNN where I came across the story of a young Black Chicago teenager named Derrion Albert who was beaten to death by a group of young Black males outside of his school. To make matters worse, they beat him continuously with two-by-fours while unknowingly the entire tragedy was being filmed.
Now, I purposely described both parties as Black for a reason. For as much as we attempt to escape the stereotype that all Black males are violent and heartless, something like this happens. The sad part is, I’m sure stories similar to this go unreported on a constant basis. As Tupac Shakur once said, “it ain’t THEM that’s killin’ us, it’s US that’s killin’ US.” While I can’t co-sign that statement fully with the painful images of Sean Bell and Oscar Grant still fresh in my mind, Black on Black crime is something I’m almost sure will never truly become extinct. As much as I want to look at positivity, I have to face reality. Every time a story like this happens, we all say the same thing…’we’ve got to do better.’ As someone who has lost friends to the streets and jail cells, I’m honestly at a loss for words.
Now, I don’t know what Albert did to warrant a beating such as the one he received. However, I do know no mother deserves to bury her son on account of society’s evils. I’ve seen that pain first hand and I pray to God every night I never experience that emotion. Maybe it’s my personality, but I cannot help but attach myself to this situation. Admittedly, I had a tear form in my eye because I know three things. One, this makes it difficult for the great majority of young Black men living in this country. We’re not animals, most of us are far from it. We’ve got dreams and ambitions like anyone else, we just seem to have more hurdles to climb. Some from our own merit, some not. Two, I know this could have easily been someone close to me. And lastly, a memorial in his honor was burned down. It’s easy to see morals and respect are a rarity these days.
As a former resident, I know the South Side of Chicago is nothing to take lightly. I know prospect of losing your life there is higher than in some parts of the country. I also know that this won’t be the last story to ever happen like this, unfortunately. But that doesn’t make the pain any less easy to deal with.