Young black men aren't seen as threats; they're seen as targets

Melissa Harris-Perry did a moving piece on the murder of Jordan Russell Davis in which she spoke about how if you're a young black man, you don't need a gun or suspicious behavior to be considered a threat.  Who you are is considered threat enough.

At first I agreed right away, but then...you know me.

We need to settle on which T-word we're going to use in these cases: threat or target. (***Update*** I should clarify that by "target" here I mean someone/something harmless - a deer, a moving bullseye, etc - as in "target practice"; i.e., something that's hunted and/or shot at for sport/amusement).  I opt for target, because a person cannot be both.  People don't get out of their cars and homes to go engage someone they consider a threat.  By biological design, human beings tend to avoid threats.  Remember the 911 calls from the Trayvon Martin murder; male and female neighbors heard Trayvon running and screaming, and refused to go outside to even see what exactly was going on.  His screaming alone was enough to make them stay behind their locked doors and called the police - because that's people do when they actually feel threatened.

Trayvon Martin, Darius Simmons, and Jordan Davis weren't seen as "threats".  Let's be real.  These were kids.  The white men who shot them knew very well they were kids.  They knew these kids were unarmed.  That was the whole point.

I once said that Walking While Female is a special level of hell.  If you are a woman in this country - regardless of your skintone - you're classified as a "target" (***Update*** Again, here I mean someone seemingly vulnerable and defenseless).  Men approach us inappropriately all the time, regardless of what we're wearing, simply because we're female.  If we want to avoid being raped and/or murdered in this country, it's better if we have run all our errands in broad daylight.  It's better to make sure we carry pepper spray and a fully charged cell phone if we have to be out at after dark.  It's always preferable if we don't go anywhere alone.

Men approach us, engage us, and harass us daily, instinctively and without hesitation, because we don't register to them as threats.  And as it is with women, so goes the same for children.

When I first became a social worker, my introduction to the world of child abuse was swift and brutal.  I spent my very first day at work poring over the autopsy photos of a 2-year-old boy.  I spent my first weeks learning one horrifying statistic after the other.  And the one thing drilled into my training class over and over again was children are abused because they make the easiest targets.

Now, if I'm going too in-depth or sound repetitious, it's because I need you to understand what I mean when I say "target".  I want there to be no confusion or convenient overlap to sugarcoat the plain truth that children of color in America make the easiest, most desirable targets.


These racist white gun enthusiasts are trying to have their cake eat it too: they want to shoot a nigger, not get hurt while doing so, and not suffer any legal recourse afterwards.  That's why their stories sound so lame; they say things black kids don't even say.  They're right on par with the lame stories people like Bethany Storro concoct after being attacked by imaginary people of color.

They're not going after grown black men; incidents like John Massie's death from a single punch was enough to make some folks hesitate.

They're certainly not going after armed black men.  The point of being a gun enthusiast is to shoot, not get shot.

Which brings me to another point; thugs and gangstas don't just "show" you their guns.  They pull their guns out all the way, shoot first, and ask questions never.  They are not even "gun enthusiasts"; to them the whole of point owning a gun is to shoot someone.  So how come these big, brave white warriors aren't going after them?

White trolls always come out and ask why black-on-white violence and black-on-black violence aren't talked about in the mainstream so much.  Simple; there's a great effort to prevent black-on-white crime in America.  If there were any group of people in America whom the police actually serve and protect, its white Americans.

Secondly, black-on-black crime actually comforts many white Americans, for obvious reasons.  With black-on-black crime, the "problem" is resolving itself, that's why there's no serious effort from local to state to federal government to create nurturing, safe environments for black youth.

This is why I think we need stop reciting the "our kids are viewed as threats" meme, because they're not. They're viewed as targets, living, breathing, moving targets whose sole purpose is to be taken out with immunity.  They're no different from a deer, rabbit, bear, or any other (defenseless) animal people like to hunt.

It's the ultimate fantasy, hailing back to the days of the Old South: shoot/lynch a nigger without getting hurt in the process or suffering any consequences afterward.

See Also

Very Young Girls
Phantom Negro Weapons

Comments

  1. We need to settle on which T-word we're going to use in these cases: threat or target. I opt for target, because a person cannot be both. People don't get out of their cars and homes to go engage someone they consider a threat.

    Please consider this:
    When I think of the Great White Bwana movies of the 1950's-1960's what gave those white men a rush is that their targets posed a serious threat to them. Should your gun misfire- or should you aim too high you were dead. That was part of the thrill associated with hunting. That’s what made the trophy worthwhile. Where was the sport if the menace you hunted lacked the capacity to kill you? Correspondingly, Black males have been likened to beasts and wild brutes (having the capacity to do whites harm) since this nation’s founding.

    White men don’t tend to make distinctions with regard to college kid or thug. A nigger is a nigger, whether he’s President of the United States or a thug from the inner city. For this reason, White men have come to define themselves as Savior, Soldier/Hero or Vigilante: Always ready to pounce into action if called upon by destiny, so best to shoot first and justify it later. You simply need to prove to appointed authorities the black man you just gunned down was a threat. And if those authorities are white like you are- then they’re perfectly capable of understanding your trepidation.

    Remember, this won’t be the first time blackness has been criminalized, because this is what its coming to. During Jim Crow black men were considered targets only because they were viewed as a threat. We become threats by virtue of our skin color and therefore acceptable targets.

    This is what I’m constantly trying to drive home to my 26 year old son. I teach him that white police officers don’t assume him to be a law-abiding citizen. The onus is on him to prove he’s not out to suddenly and without provocation do them harm. He has to do this every single time he’s been pulled over. In essence I must teach my son the very same lessons our great grandparents had to teach their sons. Be kind- be respectful- be courteous and deferential. Don’t make any sudden moves, or speak out of turn. Always say yes sir, or no sir. Because doing or saying the wrong thing can get you killed. And they won’t stop there, they will besmirch your character to justify having just shot you. The problem is that because of my son’s youth/naivete he doesn’t see the world as I see it.

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    1. I think recent generations have gotten much more cowardly. It may have been a rush before, this is the Age of Whine. Everyone wants to be the victim so that they don't have to suffer any consequences.

      Blackness has been criminalized, yes. But this is the Internet Age, the Era of Youtube and blogs and online petitions. The criminalization of blackness is an old topic. These police, these vigilantes, and these gun enthusiasts know good and well that the children they're shooting are just that - children. Because I'm not talking about when grown black MEN are getting shot. I'm talking about when 17-year-olds and a 13-year-old are getting shot. It is becoming a pattern, and we need to start calling out men like Dunn and Zimmerman and Spooner for attacking defenseless children.

      My argument is that they knew these kids were kids. They knew they were defenseless. And that's what made them the perfect targets, because they were obviously not threats.

      White racism simply adapts to the times. If blacks are being criminalized on TV, whites will adopt that as an excuse. "Well, you know...I was scared...stuff I've seen on TV told me they were dangerous...I had to defend myself" - when they knew the person they shot was not a threat.

      So a few years from now, when this cowardly form of hunting is established and called for what it is, whites will simply find something new. Jake England already targeted defenseless elderly black folks in OK; that may become the new. They'll say some shit like, "Oh...they were old...they were having flashbacks from the 50s...I thought they wanted to kill me in revenge."

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    2. When I think of the Great White Bwana movies of the 1950's-1960's what gave those white men a rush is that their targets posed a serious threat to them.

      Which is another thing...if it's a rush, it's probably not too threatening.

      Like those women who talk about having "rape" fantasies (an oxymoron, by the way). They talk about wanting to be raped, but "not quite". Yes, they enjoy the danger, but there are limits to how much danger they actually want to be in.

      Let's take Zimmerman, Spooner, or Dunn and drop them off on gang turf and see how much of a rush it is then.

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  2. Leo Princess12/2/12, 7:05 PM

    "This is why I think we need stop reciting the "our kids are viewed as threats" meme, because they're not. They're viewed as targets, living, breathing, moving targets whose sole purpose is to be taken out. They're no different from a deer, rabbit, bear, or any other animal people like to hunt."

    Anyone still in doubt need only to look and see how long it took anti-lynching laws to be passed throughout the entire U.S. Please note that I said 'passed'. Enforcement is another matter.

    If you're wondering why I care so much about what goes on in the States, here are my answers:

    1) When America sneezes, the Caribbean and Jamaica in particular gets pneumonia.

    2) I have quite a few friends and relatives living throughout the United States. Although most live along the North-East coast, I know that doesn't mean jack where racism is concerned.

    3) People, either out of ignorance or because that had been the in-thing to do for decades, have been subtly and overtly suggesting that I migrate* to either the U.S. or Canada. Best believe I'm keeping a sharp eye on what I'd expect as a triple-minority (Foreign-born Black Female) if I chose to live in North America. Yes, North America, because I don't believe that Canada is any less prone to b.s. I think we've all seen what a bunch of people saying, "Oh no! That NEVER happens here!" leads to, and I'm too old for fairy tales.

    *Not that I plan to leave at all, but they're thinking with visions of green-backs dancing in their heads. I can't afford to have my head in the clouds like them.

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  3. The Borg (Whites) have been known to target cultures for assimilation/appropriation as soon as its determined the target culture has something of value (Cultural/technical distinctiveness, Precious Minerals and Oil). But, they will all but ignore you as long as you do not Pose a Threat to them. However, should they feel threatened, they will react swiftly and aggressively to protect those interests. You know, their neighborhoods- their daughters, the American way of life.

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  4. I dunno. I think it's both to a certain extent. I think that when it comes to the meme of young black men being threats, I think it depends on how "threatening" they appear. In some cases they don't have to own a gun or any other weapon. They just have to look as if they are up to no good.

    Part of the case with Trayvon Martin's shooting was that he looked like "thug" because of his hoodie. As you remember conservatives came out of the shadows to defend George Zimmerman by explaining that the hoodie was at fault. We know that's just an excuse, but young black men in hoodies are more scary to white people than druids.

    We have to admit that white people who hardly interact with black people get most of their information from the media. They see local news and newspapers, movies and videos and think "That is now black people are in real life." They will link black skin and certain clothing as being indicators of criminal elements.

    Dr. Joy Degruy wrote on her blog a quote by former Police Chief Norm Stamper who said the following:

    Simply put, white cops are afraid of black men. We don’t talk about it, we pretend it doesn’t exist, we claim “color blindness,” we say white officers treat black men the same way they treat white men. But that’s a lie. In fact, the bigger, the darker the black man the greater the fear. The African American community knows this. Hell, most whites know it. Yet, even though it’s a central, if not ‘the’ defining ingredient in the makeup of police racism, white cops won’t admit it to themselves, or to others (p. 92)

    While I agree with your blog, I also agree with Melissa Harris-Perry. Black men are both targets and threats. Either way, their skin is reason enough to White America to never consider them as human beings.

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    1. Black men are still considered threatening. Gerard Hawkins took Massie out with one punch and white folks had a meltdown. So yes, Black men are still considered threatening. Black children, however, are not.

      A black boy is what you go after when you're too chicken to stand toe to toe with a black man.

      The child who's running from you and screaming for help is not a threat. Spooner and Zimmerman knew this, but they fired anyway.

      The cops who stopped in Alvin in the video knew he was alone, unarmed, and were happy to call him slurs and threaten to break his arm. They stopped and frisked him twice, so they knew he wasn't a threat. If he was a 30-year-old, gun-carrying member of some ruthless gang, they wouldn't been so confident to go after him.

      My argument is this: these white men can tell the difference between a man who could be a threat and a child who is little more than a target. They know. They're just invoking the excuse of black criminalization to avoid consequences.

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    2. I don't disagree at all. Like I said I agree with both you and Perry. All I'm saying was to some white men, black boys look like black men who look like thugs in their eyes.

      Some white men may not be afraid of black boys, but in their minds, they think they are guilty of...something and must be taken care of.

      Lastly, some white men may have this notion that they must get the young black males before they get them, especially if they're still in grade school or high school.

      In any case it's like you said, they want to avoid the consequences because they don't think they did anything wrong. The existential criminal black man resides in every black male while white men essentially see themselves as "saviors and protectors" especially against the black male menace.

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    3. The existential criminal black man resides in every black male while white men essentially see themselves as "saviors and protectors" especially against the black male menace.

      I think the modern white racist killer just wants to kill someone - anyone - with immunity. That's why we have situations like Aurora, CO and that Sikh temple in MO. It's not because he thinks they're a threat and he's the savior. He likes his guns and wants to use them on a human.

      It's like when American soldier went to war in the Philippines and called shooting Filipinos "nigger-killing business" which was more entertaining than shooting rabbits. They didn't have some long dark history with with Filipinos. All they needed to know was that the enemy was brown and its life was expendable.

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  5. "While I agree with your blog, I also agree with Melissa Harris-Perry. Black men are both targets and threats. Either way, their skin is reason enough to White America to never consider them as human beings."

    I’m in agreement. White men fear black males period. It’s not so much that white men see these young boys as defenseless. The white man may reason: If I don’t take care of him now he’s certainly going to kill me. By virtue of his blackness he possesses the capacity to do me harm, ”Its in their nature” he reasons. So I must Preemptively shoot before I’m shot- before I’m beaten or before I’m robbed. This unfounded fear- this unreasonable- pathological fear is at the heart of the white man's aggression.

    Rodney King was beaten because of the threat he allegedly posed to white police officers, not because of anything else. As long as he moved or flinched or sought to protect himself in any way he was pummeled. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was handcuffed for the threat that he posed to the arresting white officer. Bet money had he been white there would have been no need for cuffs.

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    1. It’s not so much that white men see these young boys as defenseless. The white man may reason: If I don’t take care of him now he’s certainly going to kill me. By virtue of his blackness he possesses the capacity to do me harm, ”Its in their nature” he reasons.

      I genuinely don't think so. I don't there's fear at work here so much as a measure of resentment, and no, they're not interchangeable.

      The Obamas are ironically a perfect example of that. A black man rose to the highest position in the land and...fat lot of good that did him and his family. He wasn't exempt from racial attack, and he's broken the record on death threats. Michelle's been trashed in ways no FLOTUS has ever been trashed before.

      What I'm saying is, white men aren't actually afraid. They're just saying they are to form a defense whenever they murder black men. It's similar to the "gay panic" defense in which straight men attack and/or murder gay men, claiming fear of rape.

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  6. "What I'm saying is, white men aren't actually afraid. They're just saying they are to form a defense whenever they murder black men. It's similar to the "gay panic" defense in which straight men attack and/or murder gay men, claiming fear of rape."

    I think you make some valid points, but its been my experience that fear of black men plays a significant part in this. Whites aren't fleeing to the suburbs simply for the schools and shopping malls. Whites may portray themselves as brave and fearless in the movies, but most have enough sense to avoid black neighborhoods after dark. Where I live they’ve built so much of what they need in the suburbs most don’t even venture downtown any more.

    I worked with an older black male years ago, and whites (Nurses/administrators) in the office would wax quiet when Charles entered the room. He was a veteran of the Korean war- and an ex-pimp. He had a swagger about him that just said Alpha Male. He was tall- outspoken and self-assured. These same whites who would be so talkative just minutes before Charles arrived got real quiet and uncomfortable when he stepped in the door. Especially the white women. I used to rent a TV set many many years ago and I remember vividly walking into the Suburban branch where the owner and his family had gathered. It was near closing, (They were all white mind you).

    I just needed to pay my bill, but you could feel the fear in the room as I took the time to write my check. They were staring at me and you could sense how uncomfortable they were. I was polite-courteous and cordial. I paid my bill and left. I can’t tell you how many white women I’ve seen hurry to their car and lock the doors as I passed by. If all whites know of us is from what they see in music videos and cop shows; if all they see is us in handcuffs or in prison (or the nightly news) then those are the images they’ll use to form their opinion about us. We black men spend most of our lives trying to make whites feel at ease around us, sometimes we’re successful and other times not so much.

    I think I told you the story of a white male ambulance driver who felt the need to tell me this was the closest he's ever been to a black person (most of his calls were from the suburbs I guess). Because my client was in the rear being tended to this necessitated my sitting up front. I kid you not.

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    1. True, but you're talking about grown white folks afraid of grown black men. I'm specifically talking about grown white men gunning down unarmed young black boys.

      Trayvon ran screaming for his life from Zimmerman, and Zimmerman went running after him...then claimed to be afraid for his life and standing his ground.

      Dunn saw some kids in their car, minding their own business, blasting their music. He got out of his car, walked to theirs, told them to lower their music (which he admits they did), shot up the car, drove up, slept like a baby, but now he's claiming he was scared for his life and standing his ground.

      Spooner accused a 13-year-old of stealing his property. He was 100% certain Darius Simmons was the culprit, but he didn't call the cops and file a report. He instead gunned down a visibly unarmed Darius as Darius was running away.

      They may be afraid of grown black men (and most definitely will be in prison), but in these instances, they were not afraid. Shit, Spooner didn't even try to lie his way out of jail. He waited for the cops and told them upfront what he'd done.

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    2. Leo Princess12/3/12, 11:08 PM

      "told them to lower their music (which he admits they did),"

      Wait, WHAT?! Then...wha...why...ARGH! I need to go punch something.

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  7. "They may be afraid of grown black men (and most definitely will be in prison), but in these instances, they were not afraid. Shit, Spooner didn't even try to lie his way out of jail. He waited for the cops and told them upfront what he'd done."

    Good point.

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  8. Also, let's keep in mind that a white person is 5 times more likely to die at the hands of another white person rather than a POC.

    The day the law becomes as lenient when white folks are murdered as it has been when POC are murdered, that number will shoot through the roof. The white death toll will skyrocket that day.

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    1. Unfortunately, the Black man is the national "Boogie Man" of this country. Even thought a Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy, and a number of other crazy-as-catshit White males have much more access to White victims, Whites STILL fear the Black man more than the White one.

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  9. Well, as a blackman. i will say it's target! where as bw! are the thraet.

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  10. here are some links' too: http://wearerespectablenegroes.blogspot.com/2009/04/zora-says-what-america-really-wants-is.html


    white women loosing pedestal!!

    http://cdn.mediatakeout.com/users/realtalc/119055/white-women-livid-over-post-of-hottest-black-women-post-from-black-men-on-whitewomenblackmencom-lmao

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  11. I'm glad you wrote this post, K. I had been a bit troubled over my own conclusions (threat) on this latest shooting. Troubled, because it was yet another unarmed CHILD.

    I was not at peace with my usual conclusions about Black skin on males being the threat. It didn't seem like it was enough. I can't say right now that I fully agree with you - but its leaning that way. I have to do some more thinking on this.

    One of the reasons I absolutely ADORE this blog space is because you always make me think, and challenge with unique perspectives on all subject matter brought to our attention here. So for that I thank you again!

    Alls I know is right now, your explanation fits better than my own does. It clicks inside my brain and serves to make better sense out of this all out free for all on our young Black males. Excellent points all and I thank you all as well for helping me think all of this through.

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  12. No one every mentioned that Trayvon or Jordan were just that kids, the media made sure to glance over that fact. It was the hoodie or some other excuse, but never the fact that these young boys were kids. I havent blogged about Jourdan because I feel like numb, almost like deja vu. I feel empty emotionally and its not cool. He was a boy and they took his life, I just can't understand.

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  13. I,too, see it as being both.

    I find it rather interesting how racists fear Black men. When you look in the history, White slaveowners where the ones that did themselves in. Just by looking at their physical traits and cultural norms, they decided that Black people needed to be feared( along with them fearing that their wives were going to gravitate towards their Black male slaves) because of it. Africans came with no weapons. It was the White slaveowners who had all the dangers, yet it was Black man that was the dangers. Aint that something?

    If there is one thing I was taught as well as learned is that it's not the people we fear that will be a danger to us,but most times, it the people we overlook that is the real danger. Look at what we witnessed with in Aurora, Colorado with James Holmes. He was a unsuspecting looking White man, college educated and came from a privileged background in San Diego, yet he got stupid killing/injuring innocent movie goers. Media wanted to make him look misunderstood by using these things. Poor Trayvon. He was minding his own business buying skittles and GZ just decided he had no right being on this planet. Along with that racist tried to smear his character.

    This topic had me to think about the recent Black Friday expedition I went on. My family and friend as going to shop at Wal- Mart, Kmart , Target and Gamestop. Initially, we went to the " White folks" side of town since we had to pick up the friend. Before we left, I didn't carry my purse out of fear that someone will take it among those ravenous shoppers and they were out there. After we left the Wal-mart, we went to the "Black folks" side of town to a Target. Other than the Best Buy store, I noticed that it wasn't nearly as crowded, still I took precautions while I was out there.

    I was just thinking about myself going to these places. When it comes to going X-mas shopping I take precautions anywhere and anytime.It should be common sense. With racists/racially ignorant people, that is not always the case. I live in a mixed area,but have been in all demographics. One thing that I notice about the White people who live near me is that they do some really screwed up things. They will, especially, the women , will walk their dogs in the most secluded areas at NIGHT! A lot of White people are also transitioning themselves into Black communities and doing the same thing. It's crazy! I would never do it,but it had me to think; They don't think about it much when they live among themselves,but if would they walk Fido in the inner city at night, I think not.

    Although I cautious of anywhere I go, I feel a little less secure going to the Northside part of town than I do the Black area only because of the dishonesty behind crime. stats. When it comes to this issue you will never get the full picture of problems plaguing their communities. My former brother in law even attested to it as he worked as a security guard in a ritzy store where only rich folks shopped and said lots of crime took place in the area, but management told media not to put it on TV. I was reading a newspaper about my mother's hometown.There were murders, robberies and other crimes that took place in a years time. Sure, I seen the news in her towns local paper and it should have made it to the media,but it didn't because they want people to believe that crime didn't happen in small towns.

    When it comes to Black male fear it should be the other way around. The concerning thing about White racists aren't weapons,but it what they will not let you know about them that troubling.They'll put all the bad news about Black folks up,but will not be straightforward about the good, bad and ugly about themselves. PS Forgive if I got a little off the subject,but I had to let it out.



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  14. I need to clarify something. It mentioned about White people going into ghettoes or their neck of the woods. let me rephrase that as I wanted to question them on about going into nice Black areas or their own communities(I've learned that it doesnt matter how nice it is, if it's always a majority Black district, it will always be dangerous and ghetto to them).

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  15. Just a quick reminder to folks, one of my opening lines was We need to settle on which T-word we're going to use in these cases: threat or target.

    Not all cases, but these cases, where grown, armed white men are gunning down young, unarmed black children, and then claiming to be the ones in danger.

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  16. As far as I am concerned, it's both. Black males started out as threats and targets, and they continue to be so. This is just modern-day lynching.

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  17. Phantom Negro Weapons are those weapons which White Americans report black people having but which are never found for some strange reason. Even trained police officers report them. They are greatly feared by the white community, probably due to their magical properties

    ...Whites might be truly imagining these weapons, maybe out of racist fear, but far more likely they are just lying through their teeth to stay out of prison. Most Phantom Negro Weapon stories that depend on racist stereotypes to be believable would have to be lies.


    ~ Abagond, "Phantom Negro Weapons"

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    1. Leo Princess12/7/12, 10:29 PM

      Yes, I read 'reports' that poor Mr. Dunn allegedly saw a gun* in the
      vehicle, and that made him fear for his life. We all know what happened next.

      *One 'report' said it was a handgun, another (circulated a few hours later) said it was a shotgun. I'm sure it's evolved into an AK-47 by now. Might be an atomic bomb next month. That phantom weapon is certainly an over-achiever.

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  18. "We need to settle on which T-word we're going to use in these cases: threat or target. I opt for target, because a person cannot be both. People don't get out of their cars and homes to go engage someone they consider a threat. By biological design, human beings tend to avoid threats. Remember the 911 calls from the Trayvon Martin murder; male and female neighbors heard Trayvon running and screaming, and refused to go outside to even see what exactly was going on. His screaming alone was enough to make them stay behind their locked doors and called the police - because that's people do when they actually feel threatened.

    Trayvon Martin, Darius Simmons, and Jordan Davis weren't seen as "threats". Let's be real. These were kids. The white men who shot them knew very well they were kids. They knew these kids were unarmed. That was the whole point."


    *bows to the mistress*

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  19. "Just a quick reminder to folks, one of my opening lines was We need to settle on which T-word we're going to use in these cases: threat or target.

    Not all cases, but these cases, where grown, armed white men are gunning down young, unarmed black children, and then claiming to be the ones in danger."

    I agree.
    14-Year-Old Boys Allegedly Kill Woman After Dispute Over Cigarettes.

    I’ve seen it with my own eyes, young boys as young as 14 carrying guns. I’ve seen shootouts in my block so many times I thought I was living in the OK corral. Get three or four young boys (without the benefit of parental guidance) and what you have is One dangerous child. So depending on the situation and the child I believe they can be both.

    The boys in my neighborhood had uncles and brothers who were active gang members. Because these boys were the only father figure in the home they wanted the younger siblings to grow up to be just like them. Young boys between the ages of 11-13 were involved in fights every single day. (I live up the street from the school.) It was a mess. So when I use the word threat I’m not speaking as an authority no- I’m only speaking from my experience. I’ve simply seen too many examples of young black boys shooting and stabbing each other.

    They fear most young black boys in my opinion. All they need see is this image and it simply validates that fear. I hope there is more to the story than this, because as I have said whites tend to lump us together. The image of the threatening young black male is becoming as iconic as Willy Horton. The distinction most whites tend to erroneously make is, “Yes whites commit crimes from time to time, but there are usually mitigating circumstances. While blacks are genetically predisposed to criminality so the age of the perpetrator is of minor concern.

    In my city the Juvenile Justice Center is full to capacity with a large percentage of young black males in house. Down the street where I live we have an Alternative School for children deemed too disruptive for the regular school. The one feature that I see in most is their hardness. Some remind me of children of war.

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  20. I like the way you followed your points with examples. I thought those examples supported your point well. I will, however, have to disagree with you.Early in your writing you said, "a person can't be both." A person can and is often both, especially in America. We live in a dog eat dog world. There is a kill or be killed mentality that when used in court may win a case and be called self defense. I have heard a story of a rap battle in New Orleans where a guy shot and killed another guy because he out rapped him. In this case out rapping him was the threat, which made him a target for murder. When a threat is viewed under more scrutiny,it may be realized that we interact with people that we feel threatened by all the time.

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    1. I did some updating to clarify what I meant by "target" in this piece, i.e., someone who appears to be an easy target - they're defenseless/vulnerable somehow - young children, a woman alone at night, etc.

      What I'm getting at is, grown, armed white men can't keep choosing to shoot at unarmed black boys AND claim those unarmed, defenseless children are still threats.

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