I guess Bill Cosby's having an effect after all. Well, Cosby, Shelby Steele, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell and a few others are apparently finally beginning to have an effect. In a Fox Sports column, Kansas City Star sportswriter Jason Whitlock says what he thinks, replayed here in full for archival purposes:
Taylor's death a grim reminder for us allMr. Whitlock is most definitely not another Laura Washington. You'll notice he doesn't blame the gun, or call for more gun control. He doesn't blame the people who didn't kill Sean Taylor. He points at CULTURE, "the rotten, anti-education, pro-violence culture our kids have adopted" as the underlying cause of "when shots are fired and a black man hits the pavement, there's every statistical reason to believe another black man pulled the trigger." Mr. Whitlock sees the same data Ms. Washington and Rev. Michael Pfleger do:
There's a reason I call them the Black KKK. The pain, the fear and the destruction are all the same.
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.
The Black KKK claimed another victim, a high-profile professional football player with a checkered past this time.
No, we don't know for certain the circumstances surrounding Taylor's death. I could very well be proven wrong for engaging in this sort of aggressive speculation. But it's no different than if you saw a fat man fall to the ground clutching his chest. You'd assume a heart attack, and you'd know, no matter the cause, the man needed to lose weight.
Well, 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?
About as well as the attempt to shift attention away from this uniquely African-American crisis by focusing on an "injustice" the white media allegedly perpetrated against Sean Taylor.
Within hours of his death, there was a story circulating that members of the black press were complaining that news outlets were disrespecting Taylor's victimhood by reporting on his troubled past
No disrespect to Taylor, but he controlled the way he would be remembered by the way he lived. His immature, undisciplined behavior with his employer, his run-ins with law enforcement, which included allegedly threatening a man with a loaded gun, and the fact a vehicle he owned was once sprayed with bullets are all pertinent details when you've been murdered.
Marcellus Wiley, a former NFL player, made the radio circuit Wednesday, singing the tune that athletes are targets. That was his explanation for the murders of Taylor and Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams and the armed robberies of NBA players Antoine Walker and Eddy Curry.
Let's cut through the bull(manure) and deal with reality. Black men are targets of black men. Period. Go check the coroner's office and talk with a police detective. These bullets aren't checking W-2s.
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.
But we don't want to deal with ourselves. We take great joy in prescribing medicine to cure the hate in other people's hearts. Meanwhile, our self-hatred, on full display for the world to see, remains untreated, undiagnosed and unrepentant.
Our self-hatred has been set to music and reinforced by a pervasive culture that promotes a crab-in-barrel mentality.
You're damn straight I blame hip hop for playing a role in the genocide of American black men. When your leading causes of death and dysfunction are murder, ignorance and incarceration, there's no reason to give a free pass to a culture that celebrates murder, ignorance and incarceration.
Of course there are other catalysts, but until we recapture the minds of black youth, convince them that it's not OK to "super man dat ho" and end any and every dispute by "cocking on your bitch," nothing will change.
Does a Soulja Boy want an education?
HBO did a fascinating documentary on Little Rock Central High School, the Arkansas school that required the National Guard so that nine black kids could attend in the 1950s. Fifty years later, the school is one of the nation's best in terms of funding and educational opportunities. It's 60 percent black and located in a poor black community.
Watch the documentary and ask yourself why nine poor kids in the '50s risked their lives to get a good education and a thousand poor black kids today ignore the opportunity that is served to them on a platter.
Blame drugs, blame Ronald Reagan, blame George Bush, blame it on the rain or whatever. There's only one group of people who can change the rotten, anti-education, pro-violence culture our kids have adopted. We have to do it.
According to reports, Sean Taylor had difficulty breaking free from the unsavory characters he associated with during his youth.
The "keepin' it real" mantra of hip hop is in direct defiance to evolution. There's always someone ready to tell you you're selling out if you move away from the immature and dangerous activities you used to do, you're selling out if you speak proper English, embrace education, dress like a grown man, do anything mainstream.
The Black KKK is enforcing the same crippling standards as its parent organization. It wants to keep black men in their place — uneducated, outside the mainstream and six feet deep.
In all likelihood, the Black Klan and its mentality buried Sean Taylor, and any black man or boy reading this could be next.
African Americans have plenty of motivation. According to a recent report by the U.S. Justice Department, nearly half the people murdered in the United States in 2005 were black. Most lived in cities and were felled by guns. While blacks make up about 13 percent of the nation’s population, they comprised 49 percent of all murder victims.But they reach different conclusions:
The Rev. Michael Pfleger knows the numbers.
In June, Pfleger and (Jesse) Jackson were arrested for criminal trespassing during a protest outside a gun shop in a Chicago suburb. Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina's, an African-American Catholic Church on Chicago's South Side, has been crusading for stricter regulation of gun shops and manufacturers. Pfleger is in agony over the 34 school-age children in Chicago who were killed by gun violence in the first six months of 2007.Pfleger and Washington blame the guns. Whitlock blames the culture. I asked Laura Washington a question a while back:
St. Sabina's 2,200-member congregation is 70 percent female. Pfleger, who happens to be white, is recruiting the pastors at neighboring churches to get into the fight. "The church should be leading the path," he says. "Women are much more vocal. I believe partly because of their sensitivity to the murder of children. Historically, women are much more progressive. That's why churches are so vital, because women make up the main membership."
Get those ladies organized, and watch out!
I venture to guess that the 2,200 members of St. Sabina's are 70% female because there's a distinct lack of older black males, in part because of the epidemic levels of violence have been ongoing for so long. But let me point out that the 34 school-age children who died in Chicago were not killed "by gun violence," they were killed by young black men firing guns. Young men who live in those very communities. The sons and grandsons, the nephews and neighbors of those congregations.Unsurprisingly, she didn't respond. I think perhaps Mr. Whitlock might agree with me.
Pardon my asking, Ms. Washington, but don't you think all those churches and those women could be far more effective at reducing the truly horrific carnage if they addressed their efforts directly at the young men in question, rather than at the suburban and rural white men who are not?
UPDATE: Read the commentary here. Perhaps Iraq is not the only place where attitudes are changing.
UPDATE: Jesse Jackson, of course, blamed guns:
"The loss of life from a senseless act of gun violence is a tragedy," says Rev. Jackson. "Sean Taylor was a father, brother, teammate, friend to many and a loving son. He will be greatly missed."(*sigh*)
"Professional athletes have never known this level of endangerment," Rev. Jackson said. "This is the struggle of this generation. We will be praying for new laws that will protect lives and the well-being of all."