A family buried their daughter today. 15 year old Hadiya Pendleton was killed earlier this week by that crazy phenomenon of irrational gun violence. Did I mention that Hidiva was black? Did we note she was killed on Chicago’s South Side – the epicenter of gun violence in new reports. This is tough to talk about – horrendous tragedy of youthful death serves to highlight the lost lives of so many. Some die, some go to prison, some zone out on drugs – but far too many lives are wasted. The problem is tough to talk about because our modern culture is ultra sensitive to racial references.
We have to be careful with our words. If we note that the prison population in America is disproportionately black we are immediately met with accusations of police and prosecutorial abuse of blacks. If we note that the highest death rate per capita by gun violence is in South Chicago we have to be careful if we also want to note that South Chicago is mostly black. Michelle Obama grew up in South Chicago and in case anyone failed to take note – Mrs. Obama is black.
President Obama is considered to be the first African American President of the United States. He is not the first half Caucasian President – that would be far too confusing. But Obama is different than his wife – His black father grew up in Kenya, his mother was white, and he was raised by his Caucasian grandparents in Hawaii. The President does not have the same family background as his wife.
That family background is important – and we should stop avoiding the question. The question is this: Is gun violence more prevalent in families that are directly descended from American slaves? The question is relevant and important. Many studies clearly demonstrate environmental phenomenon to affect families for many generations. Children, all children, learn values (both good and bad) through osmosis – the process is a natural occurrence of growing up anywhere. The idea of family bitterness and resentment, of a sense of being less than, a sense of fear, seems to me to be a given ingredient of former slave families. This does not make black people different or less – this acceptance of reality affirms black people as suffering the very same cultural influences of any other race. If we were to check the Asian female sex trade in Bangladesh we would likely find the same emotional correlation.
If we avoid this reality we shall never be able to accurately define the problems and we shall likely pass the values on to the next generation. If nothing changes, nothing changes.
Our sensitivity to charges of racism prevents us from being able to talk honestly. We must stop this madness. Gun control is one component – but the NRA, that goofy organization of white knuckleheads, could make more points if they would rephrase their argument. Guns in the hands of pissed-off people are dangerous. It makes no difference if one is second or third generation pissed off – the trauma transfers quite nicely.
There is a worn out argument by actual racists: Get over it. I never held you as a slave. Does the same reasoning apply to soldiers coming home form Iraq or Afghanistan? Get over it” Really? Is that the best we have to offer in terms of awareness of cultural impact on humanity?
We have to be able to talk without being accused of being racist.