A while back, I met a young lady who was probably in her early twenties. She told me she enjoyed reading my columns and that she had noticed that the tenor of my columns has been changing. My columns sounded angrier. And guess what? She’s right!
I’m 55 years old now. I am no longer living my life to grow up. I am fully grown and now am living my life with the expectation of death as my final frontier. I don’t fear death, nor do I live my life scared of it. It is the finale we will all take after, hopefully, living a long, healthy and prosperous life.
Now I also believe that the date of our death has been etched in our soul by God on the day we were born. Some of us will get to live long lives while others will live short ones. The only guarantee that God gives us in living is the last breath we take and not the manner in which we take it.
That is the reason why when people survive events that should have killed them; we quickly acknowledge that it wasn’t their time or place.
The recent tragic murder of Derrion Albert, the honor student from Fenger High School has put a worldwide spotlight on his timely death. He died at his appointed hour, but the manner in which it came has been forever etched in our consciousness because of the home video someone took of the incident.
To the mother of Derrion Albert, I say take a page from Mamie Till Mobley and demand that the videotape is shown unedited and un-blurred. Demand as Mrs. Mobley did that the entire world takes a look at what this city and its political, social and parental indifferences have done to your child.
I started with political, because we live in a society where the rules are made by politicians who govern almost every aspect of our lives. From the birth certificate that we are given on the day we are born to the schools we attend to our final mandated-by-politicians death certificate, politics is at the very center of our life.
And if we don’t elect and then place demands on those we put into office, then we all suffer the consequences. Derrion’s death highlights what an uncaring and unconcerned political environment can allow to happen.
A high school where learning should be the culture is allowed to denigrate into a location best known for massive group fights, and those fights are subsequently tolerated because it is “just them” killing and injuring each other.
A side note, but one that has been nagging at me, is how did we go from the school boycott a year ago to not a peep about anything this year? The answer is politics and politicians playing us for fools.
Next is the social system that we as black people have morphed into. I cannot use the word “evolve,” because evolution takes time. What we are experiencing as a black community is a sudden change to our entire way of being since we arrived in this country.
We have bought into the bamboozlement and are quite willing to toss aside a lot of the moral, cultural and time-honored beliefs that allowed us as a people to persevere through slavery, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement. We have arrived near the mountaintop and are confused about what to do now that we are there.
We have raised a generation of children who have listened to adults emphatically always speaking about “getting their gun and doing this or that,” and now we are shocked when our young people actually do it.
We have also chosen to not deal with the problem of gun violence in a realistic fashion, bypassing the fix by longing for the days when kids fought with their fists and feet.
Well folks, Derrion didn’t die of a gun shot wound. He died because of fists, feet and a 2-by-4. The tape of Derrion’s murder is proof positive for the entire world to see that far too many of us have allowed some of our children to become the embodiment of every atrocity that was ever heaped upon us.
Anyone who watches and listens to just the words uttered on the tape of Derrion’s murder would be hard pressed not to believe it wasn’t a racist lynch mob in the early 1920s.
From the young woman in the car who urges the videotaper to “zoom in” to the constant repetitions of “damn” by the man shooting the tape of the slaughter to finally the voice of some male shouting, “Put that nigger to sleep!” we have become the embodiment of the racist in our treatment towards each other.
Next, we cannot overlook the parental influence or lack thereof in raising young men and women who did what we saw on that videotape. If parents would put as much effort into raising, nurturing, educating and demonstrating proper social behavior to their children as they do in naming them, then we wouldn’t have four young males, to date, being charged with murder.
I am sick of relatives who cannot look at the videotape, but proclaim their child’s innocence. I am sick of females standing alone defending their sons while the male sperm donors get a pass. We have allowed any female raising a child by themselves to be bestowed with a title of honor of “single mother” while forgetting that it takes more than birthing to be a mother. Rearing a child successfully to adulthood is a job and not something done in between hair and nail appointments. When you fail as a parent, you have failed in life.
Lastly, one of the biggest topics regarding this murder has been the “snitch” debate. Well here’s my take: the videotaper was the best snitch in town.