"Self-destruction, we're headed for self-destruction..."
Anybody remember this rap song from the late '80s, in which popular East Coast rappers collaborated to call for an end to black-on-black crime? Based upon what just happened in Newark, New Jersey over the weekend, it appears that today's youth could stand to give this song another listen.
In case you haven't heard, this past Saturday night, four African-Americans in their late teens and early 20s were shot execution style in Newark; three of them are now deceased. They were made to kneel facing a brick wall of an elementary school when they were shot.
What makes this crime even more shocking is that there is no obvious motive for this senseless act. All four of the victims were getting ready to attend Delaware State University in the fall, and none had criminal records.
Will this event finally be the straw that breaks the camel's back, as the old saying goes? What is it going to take for us as black people to wake up and realize that we are literally destroying ourselves?
What 300 hundred years of slavery, lynch mobs, Jim Crow, the KKK, and police dogs couldn't do, we are doing to ourselves! And the worst thing about it is, we have come to accept this as a reality that we can do nothing about. The silence is deafening.
In the city of Detroit, there were over 400 homicides last year in a city of about 850,000 citizens, giving the city one of the highest murder rates in the U.S. Yet, where is the response from the city's leadership, including the mayor and the chief of police? On more than one occasion, our city's leadership has told citizens that most of these killings are drug-related or involve those engaging in criminal activity. Is this really supposed to make Detroiters feel better?
As long as we don't demand more from our elected officials, their appointees, and from ourselves as a people to stop the violence, we will continue to lose too many of our promising young people.
To Terrance Aeriel, 18, Iofemi Hightower, 20, and Dashon Harvey, 20, all of Newark. Rest in peace.