Last week, President Obama unveiled his My Brothers Keeper initiative one day after the anniversary of the murder of Trayvon Martin and as the nation still grapples with the hung jury on the murder charge in the Michael Dunn case,.
Young black men understand that they are disposable as far as society at large is concerned, and they have internalized that message, often harming themselves in the process in addition to being harmed by others.
The road to equality and justice is paved with the tireless work of countless individuals that opened doors so that others could kick them down later.
We can see concepts and issues of oppression as a wheel with each of the separate spokes representing the numerous forms, which continually trample over the rights and the very lives of individuals and entire groups of people.
When an All-Pro cornerback from the NFL's best defensive squad needs to have his 3.9 GPA from Stanford cited to stop white people's quivering, we have a problem.
Sixty-two years ago, Ralph Ellison, who would have been 80-years-old this week, wrote those words, and one cannot help but be reminded of them today. That is because, for many, including most mainstream media, black youth are still not seen as children, friends, or siblings.
African-Americans are often assumed to be a threat by virtue of their existence. In Dunn's testimony, it's clear that on the day he shot and killed Jordan Davis, he didn't see four teenagers who declined to heed his request that they turn down their music. From his eyes, they were a threat.
I hate criticizing Hip-Hop, but it's definitely become "trap music." I may partake in the ignorant hypocrisy, but like a pitbull, I have trouble defending it.
On November 23, 2012, Michael Dunn, a 47-year-old white man, fired 10 rounds into a parked SUV after arguing over loud rap music coming from the vehicle with Jordan and three other unarmed African American teenagers inside.
Every life matters. When someone is murdered, the loss cannot be measured. Hearing the grief, the real despair about the future in this country for African Americans expressed after the announcement of the Jordan Davis verdict made me think about the past.
The headlines in the case were sadly familiar. An angry adult armed with a gun used it to shoot and kill an unarmed black teenager he thought seemed "bad" -- this time, because the teenager and his friends were sitting in a car listening to music the grownup didn't like. In this outrageous Florida case, a middle-aged white man, Michael Dunn, was convicted of three counts of attempted murder and one count of shooting a gun into an occupied car. Jurors agreed he faced no threat after he was annoyed by loud music -- coming from a car he had deliberately chosen to park next to -- and then started an argument, pulled a gun on the car's black teens, and fired three shots at the young men inside the car as they tried to drive away from him.
The war has become so complex and intersected that Black America is constantly fighting for survival across all classes and identities. The latest buzzword in the war is this concept of the "thug."
Sure, he'll be locked up (at least 60 years for Michael Dunn), but true justice requires a conviction for murder. This did not happen. The reason? Stand Your Ground.
If we can divorce race and firearms, we can talk about racial disparities in America and figure out if we need to create a more just system. And then we can talk about the Second Amendment.
What separates the Michael Dunns and George Zimmermans of the world from your average killer is their insistence that they are not only innocent but wronged.
When do we decide -- as a nation -- that neither Skittles, nor hoodies, nor loud music are supposed to be a death sentence?