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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The "Black KKK"

Sports columnist Jason Whitlock puts the truth out there with a forthrightness too many black journalists and commentators lack for fear of "riling up the community." For all the recent outrage about nooses and veiled threats from whites, the truth is that the rising mortality of black men isn't from nooses and white lynch mobs. Black men are dying at the hands of other black men, and those hands are usually holding guns. Whitlock writes about the recent murder of Washington Redskin Sean Taylor:

"Someone who loved Sean Taylor is crying right now. The life they knew has been destroyed, an 18-month-old baby lost her father, and, if you're a black man living in America, you've been reminded once again that your life is in constant jeopardy of violent death.

"...when shots are fired and a black man hits the pavement, there's every statistical reason to believe another black man pulled the trigger. That's not some negative, unfair stereotype. It's a reality we've been living with, tolerating and rationalizing for far too long.

"When the traditional, white KKK lynched, terrorized and intimidated black folks at a slower rate than its modern-day dark-skinned replacement, at least we had the good sense to be outraged and in no mood to contemplate rationalizations or be fooled by distractions.

"Our new millennium strategy is to pray the Black KKK goes away or ignores us. How's that working?"

Not too well, judging by the mortality rate of black males in my own family. I've had three cousins shot and killed by other black men within the last twenty-five years. During the funeral of the first cousin to be murdered in the early eighties, I babysat his two-month old son because I couldn't bear to attend the funeral; thirteen years later that baby boy was shot down as he sat on his porch. That is a legacy no father would ever want to pass down to his son, but in our communities, these tragic legacies flourish from one generation to another as fathers, sons, uncles, cousins are shot down in the streets. Another cousin was shot in the back running for his life after visiting his children's mother; months later, the same men came for her to keep her from testifying. They killed her in front of my cousin's preschool children.

We can get outraged by every tale of white-on-black racism we hear about, but what about the rampant self-hatred within our communities? We're so wary of the beast without the community, we keep forgetting about the threat within - until we're facing the barrel of a gun , as I did in November, 1995. And it wasn't a white man holding that gun.

Whitlock warns: "Rather than whine about white folks' insensitivity or reserve a special place of sorrow for rich athletes, we'd be better served mustering the kind of outrage and courage it took in the 1950s and 1960s to stop the white KKK from hanging black men from trees."

Amen to that.


Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 11/28/2007 03:52:00 PM Permanent Link     | | Home


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