Way back when I was in junior high school and while our city was still reeling from the backlash of MLK’s assassination and the resulting race riots, I gave a speech about how we can get past the violence and prejudice that were getting a lot of people hurt, maimed, and killed. At the time, the mantra was, “Kill Whitey!” and I pointed out the foolishness of such a quest, reminding my classmates that they not only outnumbered us, but they had all the guns, money, and bullets to exterminate us if it came to that… but they wouldn’t have to because we – Black folks – were doing the job for them with increasing levels of Black-on-Black violence so all they had to do was sit back and watch us eradicate ourselves.
That was back in 1969 and forty-seven years later, not much has changed; we are still killing each other and over dumb shit or selling each other drugs laced with even more deadly shit, pulling out guns and settling disputes that wind up injuring and killing people who had no dog in the fight and their only “crime” was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Earlier this morning while checking out Facebook, one of my friends posted the above picture of a Black man holding a sign that said, “Killing our own ain’t gangsta” and it amazes me that no one realizes that we gain nothing by killing each other, that we cause more deaths and injuries within our own ranks that makes the latest shit going down with police look like isolated incidents.
Back in the day, disagreements were handled with words or fists, bricks, baseball bats and, every so often, a knife; finding yourself getting banked wasn’t all that unusual but if the fight was gonna happen, it had to be a fair one – one-on-one and may the best fighter win. So, call me a bitch or a faggot could get you ignored, get me to say something designed to make you look like an idiot, or get the fight started; today, doing such an innocuous thing like insulting someone – and not even realizing that someone got insulted – will get you shot for a lack of respect. We terrorize each other; in the city of my birth, two gun-toting “gangstas” can hold an entire neighborhood hostage, making them live in fear of their lives if someone snitches on their illegal drug activity and an activity they’ve gotten so bold with that it gets done in broad daylight and the police are nearly powerless to do anything because if you snitch, your whole family and anyone else you know could be hunted down and summarily executed.
Forty-seven years ago, we didn’t get the message that it serves no purpose for us to commit an act of genocide against ourselves and, forty-seven years later, we still haven’t gotten the message. In this, we haven’t gotten better – we’ve gotten worse. As I said in that speech so very long ago, it’s not the white man who is killing us – we are killing each other… and not even for what anyone would call a good reason. I said in that speech that we are, for some reason, self-destructive and that if we are to continue to exist as a race of people, we need to stop behaving like this before it’s too late.
My speech got me a standing ovation; it also had a bunch of guys waiting for me after school to beat me up because I spoke a truth they didn’t want to hear or accept and proved the point I made earlier in the day. And, yes, we fought; they went to the hospital with broken bones and multiple lacerations and I went home with a black eye and a bloody nose and covered with more blood that wasn’t mine.
Look at the picture at the beginning of this and spread the word that we gain nothing by killing each other; if you need a gun to settle a simple dispute, it does not make you a man to shoot an unarmed person; it doesn’t make you gangsta to run someone down over a drug deal that went south and shoot at them – and anyone else who had the misfortune to be in the area. The United States of America has plenty of foreign enemies that probably need killing, like all those extreme fundamentalist terrorists who’ve made it their life’s work to exterminate us and destroy our way of life; methinks our “urge” to kill would be better served if it were directed at our enemies and not at each other.
The numbers for Black-on-Black crime are astounding and at near epidemic levels; if they continue, we could be looking at an extinction level event. We have seen the enemy… and it’s us; if we do not stop this, we will be doomed as a people and at the rate things are escalating, no one will lift a finger to help us save ourselves from this ongoing genocidal behavior that makes us all look bad, even when many of us distance ourselves from this senseless violence.