Police shootings of African Americans have continued to make the headlines. This, of course, is followed by raging protests in the streets. The shootings of unarmed Blacks by police are horrible to say the least and deserve the amount of attention they garner. One thing that never seems to earn the same respect and astonished reactions is the shootings of Black people by other African Americans. While I understand the outrage triggered when we see such injustice and discrimination toward members of our community, I don’t know that it should be our main concern. I understand this is a controversial opinion, but it’s something that I believe must be expressed. The purpose of this essay is to discuss why Black on Black crime should be of more importance to us.
While many people try to leverage how most African Americans are killed by other African Americans in order to demonize us and victimize themselves, that’s not what I’m doing here. Murder is decided by proximity, as are other crimes. Who someone kills or steals from is decided by who they’re around. Think about it. Let’s say someone hypothetically wanted to rob someone. They’d rob someone in their own community. They wouldn’t go to another neighborhood to commit a theft. The same rules apply with most other crimes.
I’m here to say that the strong rebuke we give to police shootings we should apply to Black-on-Black crime. When a crime happens in our community, if we know who did it, we need to say something. In Homewood there was a house that was intentionally burned down, resulting in death. This should have caused the same protests that the Antwon Rose II murder did. We can’t protect ourselves when we’re still killing each other. We can’t improve education and jobs when we’re still stealing from our neighbors. There will never be an end to all crime, but we should renew our efforts to decrease it our communities. Not only that, but a new focus on education, job opportunities, opening new businesses, improving living conditions, and much more must be presented in order for us to thrive.
(Donovan Allen, 13, is an eighth-grade student at St. Bede School.)
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