By John W. Fountain
I am so sick of black so-called academics bemoaning the use of the term: black-on-black murder.
Look, of course, with regard to homicide figures, whites kill whites and blacks kill blacks--most murder is intra-racial. But when blacks make up 12 percent of the U.S. population and in some years have accounted for more than 50 percent of all murders nationally, it says that we kill each other at an alarmingly disproportionate rate.
In all my years of covering murder and crime, and all the stories I have written, I have never covered the story of a black person murdered by someone white. In fact, 9 out of 10 of us are killed by us. Fact.
Fact: If we are ever going to get better, we must deal with the cause. And please don't go talking about poverty and jobs and systemic racism… I know about all of that. That didn't kill Tyshawn Lee. A black man filled with hate and disregard for even the life of a child did.
No one can save us from us but us. I know there's no payola for poverty pimps in that message and no solace for those who want to blame the "system."
How many of our black matriarchs and patriarchs sat around blaming the system rather than taking it upon themselves to create a better place, a brighter future? Harriet Tubman didn't make excuses. She made a way.
In my deepest poverty and hopelessness, amid my own abandonment by my father as a child, amid my family's welfare and living in a neighborhood rife with gangs, drugs and crime, I could have chosen a different path. But no one can ever make me sell poison to my community, make me pick up a gun and shoot my brother or destroy my neighborhood and my life and future.
And no, I am not a "super nigger"--only a man who believed even as a boy, that there are worst things than dying poor. A man who still believes that money or jobs is not the real answer to what ails us as a people.
For our poverty today is so much greater than our economic poverty. And we have never--even as human chattel--been poorer. Damn...