I’m sure many of you have heard the alarming news about the tragic murder of Washington Redskins Pro Bowl safety, Sean Taylor this week. Anybody that wants to read the details can check out this Sports Illustrated article. It’s sad to say that this story did not come as much of a surprise. This year, we have reached disturbing homicide rates, with at least one murder every day. In Philly. And Baltimore. Each. And a majority of the victims happen to be young men of color like Taylor and myself. As a matter of fact, he and I were born in the same year, which really caused me to internalize this situation that we (young men of color) and our communities are in. There is so much gratuitous violence and it begs the question: what is it what is it about the ways in which people of color are oppressed in this country, that makes our communities so hostile, or “cannibalistic and lethal” as Immortal Technique calls it in his song, Harlem Streets. Why are we putting up Operation Iraqi Freedom numbers in a city that is supposed to be known for brotherly love? I am well aware of the ways in which this country feeds off of our blood sweat and tears. We bleed in their army to expand their empire, weep in their prisons where many of us have been placed unjustly and we sweat in their multi-million dollar gyms and arenas for their entertainment, as Taylor did up until his death. But in many cases we are the ones pulling the triggers. Is it our socialization, having grown up in during the Regan/crack boom? Or maybe popular culture’s general glorification of violence, internalized? Lack of after-school programs, or the resurgence of chronic drug addiction? Poverty? Low self-esteem? Single parent households? How do we make sense of this desperate situation? And what can people like us, the lucky ones with our lives in tact, do more of to decrease the normalcy of tragedies like this these?
Rest in peace, brothers.