The article is a by an African-American professor and mostly it restates the obvious. It’s just that the obvious isn’t much talked about.
So, it’s just fake to pretend that the association of young black men with violence comes out of thin air. Young black men murder 14 times more than young white men. If the kinds of things I just mentioned were regularly done by whites, it’d be trumpeted as justification for being scared to death of them.
It’s not that black communities are in complete denial about these statistics — Stop the Violence events are a staple of high-crime areas. But let’s face it: black America isn’t nearly as indignant about black boys killing one another or whites as about the occasional white cop killing one black boy, even though the former wreaks much more havoc in black communities. There is no coordinated nationwide movement equivalent to the one Martin galvanized. There are no thoughtful films “exploring” black-on-black crime the way Fruitvale Station treats the death of Oscar Grant, a young black man who was killed by transit police in Oakland, Calif.
And recent example illustrates how many blacks feel about who is murdering whom. Two weeks ago, an NYPD cop killed 14-year-old Shaaliver Douse. Douse was in the process of shooting other people, and had been charged with shooting someone else in May — and yet his aunt compared him to Martin. In her mind, the main sin was the white cop’s.
Granted, it seems a lot easier to do something about the Zimmermans than the black thugs. Protest profiling and police departments institute new programs. But black thugs aren’t moved by protests, so it can seem like we’re just stuck with them.
But who’s to say what would happen if black America exerted even half of the emotional fervor and brainpower it does over cases like Martin’s to thinking about how to keep black boys from going wrong? Annette John-Hall had some wise words on this last year. What kind of self-image do we have to assume we can only change others, but not ourselves?
But the question is where do black thugs come from? And the answer is that the African-American community has broken down in certain areas.
It has a functional and occasionally prosperous middle class, but the children of that middle class still pay tribute to ghetto thug values. When Obama hangs out with Jay-Z (sample lyric: Welcome to the melting pot, corners where we sellin’ rock), the message that he’s sending is that the black thug represents the black community.
On the one hand, we have ghettos where children grow up without fathers, graduate to gang violence and then shoot each other… and occasionally white people. And we have a black middle class that isn’t willing to break with that way of life.
It used to be the white liberal upper class that enabled black thuggery for entertainment and political purposes. But these days it’s the black middle class that has to take some responsibility for refusing to say no to thug culture while taking refuge behind racism.