Nigga feelin’ hopeless
Starin’ at the idiot box, riddle me this
If a killer was a nigga would niggas still really care?
Cause niggas worser than Zimmerman livin’ life everywhere
These lyrics are from Washington, D.C., based hip hop artist Wale’s song “The Pessimist” . This song tackles a few of the most pressing issues threatening African-American’s existence. The song’s most thought provoking moment occurs when Wale openly questions the actions of his indigenous community. Wale inquires if some even care about the pressing issue of murder as they only react when a Black Life is lost at the hands of whites. Considering the consistent occurrence of black-on-black violence, I believe this to be a particularly notable query.
With the recent murder of unarmed Walter Scott Jr., at the hands of white police officer Michael Slager, the “Black Lives Matter” movement has been reinvigorated. While the African American community is well within its right to express righteous indignation when Black life falls unjustifiably at the hands of a white police officer, however, what bothers me is the reality that during the same weekend that Mr. Scott was murdered by a white police officer, there were 5 Blacks in Chicago who fell at the hand of a fellow African-American; bringing the Windy City’s 2015 murder count to 99. Last year, 420 murders occurred in Chicago, the vast majority of the victims, and perpetrators were African-American. Unfortunately for Black Chicagoan’s, there was no national outcry. Most troubling is the reality that indifference to black-on-black homicide is relatively standard for today’s African-American community.
According to the FBI, over 90 percent of African-American homicides were committed by black offenders. In contrast, only 6 percent of black murder victims were slain by Whites. It is perfectly reasonable, understandable, and justified for the African American community to rally against white officers senselessly murdering black citizens behind the banner of Black Lives Matter. However, it is unconscionably hypocritical for the same individuals to ignore much more frequent occurrences of black-on-black homicides.
Black activists and community leaders appear foolish when they express unfiltered outrage at the death’s of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Michael Brown, while remaining silent in regards to the murder of Black men, women, and children by African-American offenders at a rate that would make George Zimmerman, Michael Dunn, and Darren Wilson shake their heads in disbelief. If the African-American community is not careful, it runs the risk of endorsing the belief that Black Lives ONLY Matter when they are extinguished by whites.
Put simply, African Americans lackadaisical reaction to black-on-black crime must cease immediately. I am of the opinion that we should oppose all crime regardless of the perpetrators race/ethnicity. In the end, unnecessary death is unnecessary death, regardless of the culprit’s race/ethnicity. It is only by vigilantly opposing every manifestation of murder that I will ever be convinced that Black Lives Matter. Until that occurs, I will hold fast to my fervent belief that Black Lives Matter, Sometimes.
©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2015.