Ain't My Brotha's Keeper
When I first heard about the murder of UNC student body president Eve Carson, like most folks I felt a deep sense of sorrow for the family. But then like most black folks, this was immediately followed by "please don't let the suspects be black." And for me, an extra "please don't let them be from Durham."
My worst fears were realized today...
According to news reports the two suspects are black dudes from Durham. Time to duck and get ready for the fallout.
Now, I'm not tryin' to be insensitive because if it was my daughter, sister, friend who was murdered I would want everybody and their mama even remotely responsible for the crime to pay the ultimate price...But that is a prerogative reserved for the family and friends...
My concern is with the other folks...
There is a feeling in many places in this country that black folks are soft on crime and are always makin' excuses for criminals. Especially in Durham.
This is not true. If you look at the history of black folks who commit crimes on white folks, they probably shot or robbed five other black people before they got to the white side of town...
A criminal is a criminal and a victim is a victim whether she is a high school drop out from tha 'hood or a college student.
But black folks are looked at as being monolithic in thought and action. You can believe that many African Americans will be walking around the next few days feeling guilty about Carson's murder even though they had nothing to do with it.
(Just because the suspects look like your sister Ruth Ann's sons does not make you an accomplice.)
Also, there are many folks who will use this event as a platform to spew deep seated prejudices that have nothing to do with the issue at hand.
I dread going to Mickey Dees tomorrow and having my Big Mac dining experience ruined by the couple at the next table beaming at me as they "loudly" whisper about Durham being full of no good thugs and animals just loud enough for me to hear..
Not to mention the onslaught of camera crews that are undoubtedly on their way to Durham as we speak..I'm sure the good folks at Fox will have a field day with this one.
What is most disturbing is that black youth advocates like myself will have to endure the taunts of the Sean Hannity's of the world for the next 20 years when any black person is treated, unjustly..
"Well, where were you when your Afr-i-can A-mer-i-can brooothers murdered that college student in 2008 !"
(Um, in bed sleep?)
Contrary to popular belief, all black folks are not criminals nor do we turn a blind eye to crime. We are clear in separating those black people who practice proper African behavior from those who are just plain thugs.
A local poet, Queen Sharon has a phrase that she uses when making this separation. It ain't "us" that are robbin' folks it's "those that are them."
Unfortunately, not everyone takes the time to make that distinction...