Time for black leaders to declare African Americans an endangered species?
By MARY MITCHELL November 18, 2013 8:02PM
Updated: December 20, 2013 6:34AM
Is it time to for black leaders to declare black people an endangered species?
Right now, homicide is the leading cause of death among black men, according to a recent study by the Florida Atlantic University’s School of Medicine.
But African Americans of both genders and of all ages are getting killed in so many ways, it’s a wonder black people aren’t praying 24/7.
For instance, my heart grieves for the family of Michael Sullivan, the 53-year-old longtime UPS worker who was killed last week on the West Side. Rayshon Williams, 16, and Derrick Williams, 20, have been charged in connection with Sullivan’s death.
According to police, Sullivan was walking to the Green Line’s Pulaski station to go to the job he held for 32 years when the teen grabbed him.
After Sullivan managed to escape the teen, the older accomplice allegedly got out of a stolen car and shot Sullivan in the face.
It just breaks my heart that this hardworking, family man was murdered for nothing — and I mean for nothing.
After all, how much money would a guy who’s walking to the Green Line likely to be carrying?
The violence has made me almost obsessive about my tires. Part of the reason is I’m on the road a lot traveling between Chicago and Milwaukee, where my elderly mother lives.
I worry about what would happen if I got a flat, or the car broke down while I’m going through a dark patch and I have to pull off the highway.
Two recent stories about stranded African-American motorists in other parts of the country show the risk.
On Nov. 2, Renisha McBride, 19, got into an early morning car crash in a Detroit suburb. Police allege the woman was “intoxicated and possibly disoriented” following the crash. She apparently sought help at the home of Theodore Paul Wafer, 54, who shot the 19-year-old as she stood on his front porch.
McBride was unarmed, and there is no evidence that McBride attempted to break in. Still, Wafer fired his weapon from behind a closed, locked screen door. He later claimed the shooting was accidental.
After pressure from the dead woman’s family, the homeowner was charged with manslaughter.
There’s little doubt in my mind that had McBride been an “intoxicated” white teen, her fate would have been different.
More than likely, Wafer would have dialed 911 instead of pulling the trigger.
Unfortunately, many of the images that whites see of blacks depict them as predators. So when a law-abiding black person appears out of sorts in a predominantly white neighborhood, he or she is not likely to get the benefit of the doubt.
This kind of thinking appears to also have led to the tragic death of Jonathan Ferrell, a 24-year-old Florida A&M University football player.
In September, Ferrell made the mistake of knocking on a stranger’s door after his car crashed on a road near Charlotte, N.C.
The homeowner panicked and called police. Officers responded to what they believed was a “breaking and entering” call, and a white officer ended up fatally shooting Ferrell.
That officer, Randall Kerrick, has been charged with voluntary manslaughter.
Like George Zimmerman’s fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, these isolated, race-related shootings become worldwide news.
But while these cross-racial shootings cause the biggest uproar, and add to the anxiety, they aren’t the real threat to future African Americans.
Black people are most at risk in their own backyards.
In fact, the continued black-on-black violence is destroying middle- and working-class neighborhoods.
Because when a man like Sullivan isn’t able to walk to the L without getting fatally shot, the future of a black child — in a city that is divided by race and class — can’t be very bright.