A Painful Truth

As African Americans, we do an outstanding job of banding together when we believe an injustice has been committed against one of us. We organize marches across the country, wear ribbons to silently make our opinions known, and some of less scrupulous of us go on looting sprees. Why shouldn’t we benefit from tragedies with big screen televisions? After all, “the man” owes us that much. Don’t even get me started on that mentality.

Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson and organized protests go together like peanut butter and jelly. We can always count on these self-appointed spokespeople of the black community to speak out against the injustices that plague us as a people. And you won’t hear me dispute the fact that we often get the short end of the stick. There are two different standards of justice working in our country, and I don’t believe we’ll ever see that change in any of our lifetimes. But how long will it take us to organize marches protesting the atrocities we commit against each other?

It’s disheartening to see articles each day about black people who have shot, stabbed, raped, and robbed other black people and not see one related article mentioning residents of any given community speaking out against these heinous acts. Our children are killing each other in droves, yet we haven’t managed to organize a march for them. We haven’t designated a ribbon color to tie onto our lapels. Instead, we bury our heads in the sand and pretend we don’t notice, or shake our heads while listening to the news describe crimes committed by people who we subconsciously consider to be beneath us.

When the rest of the country takes notice of these offenses and our lack of a response as a community, what message do you think they get from it? Blacks only get upset about blacks dying when someone else is doing the killing. That’s what you are telling America when you tweet your feelings of anger over the most recent officer-involved shooting of a young black man while turning a blind eye to the teen that killed another teen over a pair of expensive running shoes. It may not seem fair to put it that way, but perception is reality. Getting riled up over what we perceive to be racial injustice while ignoring the ongoing turmoil within our communities is akin to throwing bricks around in a greenhouse. No one will ever take us seriously while we accuse others of the very transgressions we commit against ourselves.

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