They Say That It’s The White Man that I Should Fear,
but it’s My Own Kind Doing All The Killing Here!
— TUPAC AMARU SHAKUR —
One of the most disturbing crimes that I have recently read about was the murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee in an alley on the South Side of Chicago in a neighborhood called Auburn-Gresham. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy succinctly summed up this incident when he referred to it as “…an act of barbarism, the assassination of a 9-year-old child as a gang retaliation to get back at his father. Tyshawn Lee was failed on many, many levels.”
Merely recognizing the sheer barbarity of this act that extends from earlier conflict involving Tyshawn’s father does nothing to correct the stupefying socioeconomic issues affecting Black Chicagoans or the African-American community in general.
Court papers highlight that this murder was a direct extension of gang warfare. Authorities believe that rival gang warfare reached an unprecedented level after the death of reputed gang member Corey Morgan’s brother and the wounding of his mother. The attack apparently made Morgan blood-thirsty for revenge as he allegedly told fellow gang members “…that since his brother was killed and his mama was shot he was going to kill grandmas, mamas, kids and all.”
Not withstanding the obvious reality that street gangs operate along their own rules and code of ethics, civilized people must recognize that one of the primary problems affecting everyone involved in this barbaric killing is an absence of proper socialization to develop a healthy sense of manhood. The blessing and the curse of human beings is that they enter this world with the ability to do little more than cry and poop. Everything else, especially how we navigate through this world, is taught by others and gleaned from personal experience.
The reality that we learn everything we know, or at least what we think we know, shines an unbelievably negative light upon what passes for Manhood among many African-American males. Such individuals operate from a belief system that things such as hyper-aggressiveness, ends-justify-the-means economic formulations, promiscuity, offensive language and dress, not to mention an unmistakable hostility toward the development of the mind, are the makings of a man.
Unfortunately for the African-American community, ignorance is not a trend. Once ignorance dawns its draconian head, it is darn near impossible to reverse it and its damaging affect upon all exposed to it. Such is the only explanation behind Black Chicagoans killing each other in gangland style murders for as far back as anyone can remember. The following chart lists the number of murders that have occurred in Chicago, or Chiraq as many have chosen to refer to the city, over the past thirteen years.
|YEAR||MURDERS IN CHICAGO|
|TOTAL||6,750 MURDERS — 482+ MURDERS/YEAR|
Although it is one of the most difficult things to admit as an African-American male who consistently fights against the characterization of my counterparts as uncivilized thugs with a predisposition toward criminality, I have come to believe that there is a significant population of African-American males whose socialization flows from what can be termed as a dysfunctional culture that constructs a woefully flawed understanding of manhood.
There is no other reasonable explanation for the actions of those Black males that murdered Tyshawn Lee than their being steeped in a dysfunctional culture that greatly aided in the construction of a woefully flawed understanding of manhood. An autopsy performed on the 9-year-old child revealed two gunshot wounds that went through his body, a gunshot wound to the head, a bullet grazed the right side of his upper back, and another superficial wound was found on Tyshawn’s right forearm.
It is moments like these that definitively display how far African-American males have fallen from their rightful place as the protectors of their community against external aggression.
Although the killing of African-American men by white law enforcement officers has dominated the newspaper headlines for quite a period now, the bigger story is the unacceptable rate that we are killing each other in American streets. Every major city has its own story regarding what should be considered genocide within their local African-American communities. And the fact that we are not discussing what many have become desensitized enough to consider routine killings in that manner tells one all they need to know about the value of Black lives in America to Black folk.
James Thomas Jones III
©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2015.