Since the first half of this June 2011 alone, reports of (flash) mob attacks by groups of mostly young black men in Chicago have become more frequent and known throughout the nation. Prior to this month, there have been other reports of large numbers of black teens assaulting their victims and robbing them of their goods in other cities across the nation. In all attacks reported in the mainstream news, the victims where non-black, mostly white. Along with reports of shootings and violence in gatherings in certain locations within cities across the U.S. the image of the young black male being synonymous with brutal crime and violence becomes strengthened.
As a side note it seems that not a lot of people take the recent riots in Vancouver, British Columbia, as seriously as the violence orchestrated by poor black youth. The Vancouver rioters were mostly young and white, and it was over the result of a hockey game. Shouldn’t that be a cause for concern as well? But, I digress.
Black youth, as they have always been, have become poster children for crime in this nation, and black adults have become representatives of failing, dysfunctional parenthood with no explantion other than the fact they are black. Racists see these mob attacks as examples of black-on-white crime, crimes against whites by blacks out of racial hatred without so much as considering the history of whites attacking blacks for many years. In conclusion racists will chop this up as “evidence” of the innate, savage nature of black people.
There are a lot of things going through my mind right now as I write this blog. Some of that is the irrational sense of shame and fear, fear that these incidents will have lasting and devastating results for blacks across this nation. The victims of these attacks are traumatized mentally as well as physically, in some cases. The families of those charged in the attacks will have a long and difficult road ahead of them not just with the legal system, but also the racism bubbling out as a response to the flash mob attacks. Lastly, the young teens are now branded as violent criminals and thugs. Their punishment will probably be more strict due to the race of their victims, and the justice system will not likely be in their favor for obvious reasons.
Mob attacks are nothing new historically, and they are not restricted to American culture, especially in poor communities where crime occurs often and where injustices toward them are disguised as public policies. However, some are speculating why these recent attacks are making national headlines. One reason is the fact that the incidents in Chicago did not occur in the South or West sides, areas of economic neglect, drug infestation, violence, and murders, but they occured in the more financially sound tourist areas like the Gold Coast. Those teens targeted those who had the very things needed to prove your worth in a country of materialism. I bet almost all of these teens had little to no economic stability, poor educational facilities, live in unstable homes and(or) environments, and have experienced some sort of emotional trauma growing up destroying any bit of hope for their futures. And nothing is more dangerous than a young black man with nothing to lose.
Another reason why these crimes are so widespread in the media is because most of the vicitms are white. A black person assaulting, murdering, or raping a white person is instant news. The news of these crimes help magnify the fears whites have of being attacked by black people. However, some of the fear comes from a sense of historical retribution, getting back at the white man for the injustices of slavery, Jim Crow, etc, all organized by whites in this nation.
Even though there have been–and will be–cases of whites being the vicitms of crimes by blacks, in a historical sense it was still miniscule compared to white-on-black crimes which still occur to this day. Plus, most black-on-white crimes occur not because the vicitms were white, but because the perpetrator saw an opportunity to get something from them by any means just as if the vicitm was the same race. It wouldn’t make a difference who it was as long as they have something they desperately want and are in their crosshairs like a criminal of any race.
More police presence have proven not to decrease crime, but also helps exacerbate it. There must be a priorty to invest in programs and projects that will help black youth on the right track and provide help for their families, and seeing as how this occured outside the poor and forgotten areas of society, maybe, just maybe people will pay attention. If so, it would send a damning message about how this society views the worth of vicitms of crime.
In any case I wouldn’t hold my breath.
It has almost been two years since the world saw the taped footage of the tragic, senseless beating and murder of Derrion Albert, a young black male with a promising future, outside of a high school in the South side of Chicago. There was shock, anger, sadness, shame, and a serious call for action from communities across the country. Sadly, since then, more lives were claimed as a result of violence by those with no future–nothing to lose. There are people that are working diligently to stop the violence in these and other areas ignored by society. However, they can only do so much.
What will this nation do?
What will it take for this nation as a whole to realize that all of us are in the same boat? Yes, even you middle and upper-class folks who don’t think it’s your problem. What will make people realize that we all must take responsibility for the direction our youth, all of our youth, are taking? When will this society see the value of life in all of its young people and wisely redirect necessary resources in ensuring their futures? How many more lives must be lost before we suddenly realize what’s wrong with the way this country handles its children, teenagers, and young adults?