Whenever we witness horrific tragedies like the cold-hearted murder of our brother Derrion Albert, this society seeks to assign blame, instead of accessing the problem. Therefore much of the discussion after watching Derrion’s shockingly brutal beating was whose fault was it. So we all begin to search for scapegoats, whether we say it’s the parents for failing to raise them right, the schools for failing to teach them right, the religious institutions for not doing enough to reach out to them, or rap music for promoting sex and violence. Some have even called for the National Guard, anything to absolve ourselves of any work or responsibility.
But the late great Michael Jackson said it best in the song, “Man in the Mirror”, “who am I to be blind pretending not to see their needs”. We know many parents are struggling, whether it’s with employment, single parent households, drug abuse, or being teen parents. We know the schools are getting worse especially after Bush took a wrecking ball to them called “No Child Left Behind”. We know religious institutions in a large part are getting older and out of touch with today’s youth. And we damn sure know that a majority of what passes as rap music and ends up on the radio is violent and misogynistic.
If anything Derrion Albert’s death should show us that we can’t just keep our head in the sand and think just because we’re personally doing OK that the suffering of the masses of our people won’t touch us. Derrion was a honor roll student who loved school, attended church and couldn’t wait to go to college, but because his environment didn’t foster these same ideals he fell victim to the mean streets of the “hood”. Just a few days earlier a 5 year old was shot and killed here in Pittsburgh. What did he do to instigate his death? I remember vividly the last time I visited Chicago (my hometown by the way) I received a frantic call that one of my cousins was shot, he had just graduated high school and like Derrion was eagerly awaiting college. He was on his way home from his job when he was caught in the crossfire of two rival gangs. It is only by the grace of God he’s still alive, and needless to say he wants to stay at school rather than come back home to Chicago.
What I’m saying is that all of us are to blame. We know the problems and many of us do little to nothing to help. If we start with the “Man in the Mirror” we can all do so much more to effect a positive change in our communities. But we truly must start now because our lives and the very lives of our children may depend on it.
As soon as I finished writing this I came across this link that sadly further proves my point
This Week With Jasiri X-Episode 20, examines who’s really to blame for the death of Derrion Albert and the innocent victims of our violent communities. “What’s the State of the Black World?” was produced by Religion and Directed by Paradise the Arkitech