Still An Endangered Species
As we continue to watch the Trayvon Martin case with saddened hearts and wounded souls, we are left to wonder about our future. Mr. Martin was a 17 year old kid who was gunned down while minding his business.
Because we’ve been trained to believe that most black men who die by the bullets of a gun are either thuggish or involved in salacious activity, it was probably the first thought of some about Mr. Martin. Was he really in the neighborhood just to visit family?
As a 28 year-old African-American male in America, this reality is all too scary. I can recall being in elementary school and my D.A.R.E. officer telling every single black boy in our class, that his job is to help us make it to the age of 25.
For my little growing ears and mind back then, hearing him and others say that did not necessarily gleam with freedom and opportunity. To live an existence where your largest expectation is to make it past the age of 25 is sad and intolerable.
To sit and watch the life of another young black man leave this planet is numbing, typical, and irritating. The type of fight we are involved in is a losing one. We, a collective community, are losing this battle.
According to statistics, 50 percent of all homicides involving guns are African-Americans. There is no need for me to state it, but I will, that is half. For other communities, that number would be un-acceptable. Why, in the year 2012, are African-Americans still fighting the losing battle with guns and homicide? Why are we stillstruggling against such an insatiable weapon with an un-quenchable thirst?
My generation is in peril. Not only because we are losing a crucial battle to guns, bad health, and lack of education, but because most have lost interest in our well being. It is such an outrage that the life of a young black man is still treated with such callous nature, yet it is my belief that Americans have changed the channel on our safety.The news was once the world’s largest and most successful reality show with lead stories about murder, crime, and robbery. That same platform has played out for us over our TV screens for 30 plus years and we’ve become desensitized because of it.
That desensitization isn’t lost on our elected officials and so-called national leaders. Some have abandoned us, left our communities to fight for itself. We do not need another old school rally to bring attention to an issue. We see the issue, but it is past time that we properly address it.
I say again, my generation and our communities are dying. This one moment in time is the most dangerous and important one to our survival and we watch as it passes us by and kills us.
We face losing black women to disease and cancer as the number of young African-American women infected with HIV or AIDS continues to rise. Crime continues to wipe black men off the face of planet as the prison industrial complex and lack educationalopportunities stares us in the face.
We all mourn the death of Trayvon Martin because his passing represents way more than an uncomplicated tragedy. It is a microcosm of the problems we still face and the mountain of work that is ahead of us to save ourselves. So many times we allow the opportunity for a true movement to pass because we are too intertwined in the moment. Mr. Martin’s life is worth more than a few rallies, a press conference, and an article.
His family, their cause for justice, and our survival demand more. If we continue to allow this hurricane of trouble to decimate our neighborhoods by standing on the sidelines and casting cheerful votes for incompetent politicians, then maybe we deserve what we receive.