Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another American Tragedy

PHOTO: Jennifer Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson; nephew, Julian King; and
brother, Jason Hudson (not shown)... three recent victims of senseless violence.


I just finished writing a short story in which one of my characters shoots and kills another character. The narrator of the story said that the police were willing to believe a story that is somewhat suspect because, "It is just a case of black people killing other black people. There would be no public outcry... they were just glad to have a cleared case." I wrote this story the day after I heard the tragic news about actress-singer, Jennifer Hudson, who lost her mother, brother, and now I'm afraid, her 7 year old nephew to a shocking act of violence.

They were black and I'm sure when the perpetrator is captured, the person will turn out to be black too. I especially wrote that part of the story to demonstrate that black life is cheap. White people say it and know it... and black people, just in the way we treat each other, know it and believe it too. We are always so quick to pull a gun on each other, pull a knife on each other, or go to blows with each other... but, afraid to vote and to stand up for each other!

This wasn't really meant to be a post about the Jennifer Hudson tragedy... that's just one more instance in a series of black-on-black violence. Tragic as it is, this same scene was probably played out in New York, Detroit, Philly, Atlanta, DC, Baltimore, and several other American cities in somebody else's family over the weekend. I also heard an unconfirmed story that the murders in Jennifer's family were the result of a domestic dispute over a car. Whether it's true or not, black folks kill each other at alarming numbers over just about anything now of days.

As much as I loved the TV series "The Wire", I was always saddened at how cheap black life was, how many of the young black males on the show met their deaths tragically, and how killers like Wee Bey, Omar, and Chris Partlow were elevated to the status of "folk heroes" amongst some of my friends who watched the show. Some of them argued that Tony Soprano & Crew ended just as many white lives on "The Sopranos" as did the guys on the Wire but, I disagree. The body count was never as high as it was on shows like "Oz" and "The Wire". TV shows they may be but, in many ways they are a mirror of the very real violence that is so pervasive in America in general and, in particular, Black America.

At a time like this, when we could be on the verge of electing our first black president, we as a people and as individuals have still not evolved beyond our fears and mistrust of each other that dates back to slavery. We should be past this but, the self-hatred and self-loathing instilled in us after centuries of institutional racism has created fearful and mistrustful "little monsters" that actually embrace picking up the gun rather than seeking a non-violent or intelligent way to resolve a problem. In fact, to some people, what I'm saying here is just out of the question.

This is the mentality that is the root cause for Jennifer Hudson's family members' being killed. There is no justifiable reason you can give me for whatever happened in that house on Friday. And, there is certainly nothing anybody can tell me that would make me want to cut the perpetrator some slack for killing a 7 year old child. I don't want to hear that the person was "scared, in a panic, and just didn't think" or was "angry and one thing led to another". I'm just not in the mood to hear anymore excuses for senseless black-on-black violence.

I don't even know what I could say to Jennifer Hudson if I knew her personally because I can't imagine how I could deal with that kind of loss. I shouldn't have to imagine how I should deal with it... neither should she... and neither should any of you. So, I ask you... where is the love? Where is the love?

17 comments:

ZACK said...

Creative post!

I don't know what words to write either. This is why I have decided to deal with the matter from a conceptual perspective (talking about the South Side of Chicago in general).

We need God's help so much!

We live in such a crazy world. The news just gets crazier every day. But I have been in continuous prayer for the family.

James Perkins said...

I feel you brother..My prayers go to Jennifer Hudson and her Family.

Sunflower said...

This senseless violence must stop!

Toni said...

Keith, I'm just getting to work and I just happened to read your blog..This was so sad...It was such a sick crime...I feel so bad for Jennifer Hudson.

Angie B. said...

Jennifer Hudson and the rest of her
family are already in my prayers

Simon Bastion said...

My prayers are going up for Jennifer Hudson and her family,
this is a terrible tragedy. Great
Post Keith.

Grover Tha Playboy said...

That was foul what went down in Chicago...Keep ya head up Jennifer!

Lisa said...

Truly a terrible tragedy..My heart
goes out to Jennifer Hudson and her
family.

LadyLee said...

These tragedies occur in our community on what seems like a minute by minute basis, but only intensifies when it occurs with someone we "know".

And I think you hit the nail on the head when you said black life is cheap. I myself think these attitudes towards ourselves have been ingrained since the days of slavery...

Good post.

Ceiling Decorations said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Opinionated Diva said...

I can't make sense of this situation at all.

I think you ended the piece perfectly though...where is the love? That is an excellent question...the lack of it explains the problem.

If there was love for self or respect for others...most of these senseless crimes would cease to exist.

Shorty said...

A horrible tragedy. And to think that it happens all across our world to people we don't even hear about on the news.

A moving post...

Raven said...

To piggy back off of what Shorty said...the same weekend here in Houston we were hearing about a mother and her two daughters being murdered in their home...the fiance is nowhere to be found. Sad...

Mizrepresent said...

Very sad indeed Keith. Where is the love? We all have it here, but sadly, there are so many without it!

Strongblkwmn said...

Where is the love is the perfect question to ask. I have been asking the same thing. It's something you can't help but ask as you walk around some of our communities.

My prayers go out to Jennifer Hudson and her family and all of the families in our world who have suffered similar tragedies.

It broke my heart when one of the neighbors where her mother lived said they heard the gunshots but no one paid them any attention because they hear them every day.

Kin'shar said...

I feel so bad for this family...I like to take a silent moment.....










































In jesus name amen....

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]At a time like this, when we could be on the verge of electing our first black president, we as a people and as individuals have still not evolved beyond our fears and mistrust of each other that dates back to slavery. We should be past this but, the self-hatred and self-loathing instilled in us after centuries of institutional racism has created fearful and mistrustful "little monsters" that actually embrace picking up the gun rather than seeking a non-violent or intelligent way to resolve a problem.[/quote]

Keith - I keep seeing a pattern in your words which attempt to link "the election of the first Black president" with some index about what is the present state of affairs on the streets of BLACK America. I keep arguing to various people that they couldn't be more incorrect.

In a discussion with a person who is a successful political person that I know and respect he made the case that "most peoples require more than 300 years to recover from slavery - Black Americans have done so in 150/40 years" (depending on if you choose to key in on slavery or the end of the Civil Rights Movement).

I told him that the electoral success of ONE BLACK MAN in the AMERICAN POLITICAL DOMAIN should not be mistaken for evidence that Black people in aggregate are properly oriented in the CULTURAL order.

Seemingly you are from Philly. This past summer as I sat in an airport I saw a Black mayor and a Black police chief on national television having to explain the actions of their police force who beat 3 Black male suspects as they laid on the ground. In addition the sight of a Black mayor and a police chief did not cause these Black males to be motivated into doing the right thing in their lives. Neither will the sight of a "Black President".

As a people we are too inclined to sell ourselves on the "soft benefits" of having a person who looks like us in power. Instead we need a more sound LOGISTICAL PLAN that will carry us from where we stand today onto that which we desire.

In my view - a little Black boy born in 2002 who is now in the first grade is less impacted by what the SLAVE MASTER'S WHIP had done more than 150 years ago than what his parent(s) have done or not done during his short life span.




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