THE NEXT VICTIM
Every day in communities around this country a young black man’s life is taken by a self-replica – another young black man. If you’re wearing a particular garment, stare without acknowledgement, commit a casual bump, or perhaps nothing at all, you can fall victim. Why are some of us so deadly and lack the ability to control the most severe behavior on earth – murder? Recently, in Miami, Florida five black school age students died in separate shootings in a span of eleven months. They were killed within their communities by someone who looked like them and for reasons that certainly did not rise to a death sentence. There are some obvious problems that relate primarily to the longevity of young black men. There might be more focus on the teens and twenty-somethings, but it can happen to any black male more than anyone else. There will always be a multitude of variables that add to or subtract from our daily lives, but why do young black males seem to target other young black males in their environment? Does a young black male value his fellow black male? What are the standards that exist in the black community and are those standards different from the rest of society?
When a child is born there a can be a social impact early in their life that puts him on a negative course. If society has an impact on him, how did it occur when he probably never left his block? The reality is this; how can the issues of the world have a negative impact on you when you have yet to experience them? Your only experiences have been the things that have occurred within your family and possibly in your neighborhood. If you dare to venture from either, your experiences might turn out to be very different. When I watch the news, as depressing as it is; I listen to interviews of families whose loved ones have been gun down by others who are also from the same neighborhood and I ask myself, what went wrong in that community?
Plenty of us who are African-American grew up poor and went without a lot, but we still never stole, killed, committed any other crime, or spent a night in jail. Seeing what is happening now with some of our young men can make us cringe. The one advantage we probably had that is missing in homes today is a loving, safe home environment, parents who taught us right from wrong and how to take responsibilities for our actions. I wonder what is taught in households today. What type of preparation and support is offered by parents?
All of these questions have different answers depending on who you ask or which house you live in. I’m certainly not suggesting that our households are the only households in trouble, but what I see concerns and saddens me. The pathway that too many young black males take is one of extreme deadly violence. Even if the number were only five, in my book that would still be too many. They do not seem to concern themselves about a future when it’s the reflection of their lives that deny them their futures.
Can young teenagers and the twenty-somethings find a foundation for change? My thought is, with so many young adults in colleges and universities around this country, will they take up the battle to reduce violent behavior? If they don’t step up who will?
The next time you speak to a student of higher education, ask them who will save their child?