This weekend 14yo Dajae Coleman was murdered in Chicago as he walked home from a party Saturday night. His friends and family say that he was a gifted athlete and just a nice guy. Earlier that day he spent time at the gym with younger students to pass on some of his extraordinary basketball skills. He wasn’t the intended target, but at 10:30pm he lay less than a mile from his home in a deadly pool of blood. It breaks my heart to wake up each Monday morning wondering how many kids, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, were killed over the weekend.
The problem is much deeper than gun control issues. There’s a culture of anger and hate that permeates the community right now. I was on the south-side this weekend and made an attempt to cross the street at a busy intersection, a car full of women sped up and the driver yells out the window ‘stupid b*tch, get out the street.’ I went to a club Saturday night and Black people from all over the city put on a profound display of solidarity as they chanted the anthem for Young Black America ‘That’s that shit I Don’t Like!’
As I looked around from table to table, bar to bar, what struck and scared me at the same time was the realization that in this city where the homicide rate increased 90%, poverty rate is around 30%, illiteracy is XX, single parent households XX, that we are being trained over and over again through cultural nuances to breed hate. When your anthem shines light on all the things you hate, it obscures your ability to love…I’m sorry, but it does.
We sing and replay hateful songs, look forward to hate-filled TV programs, consume diets filled with processed foods, celebrate stealing &sexing other people’s wives and husbands, etc. Until there’s a shift in culture and THOUGHT, and Black people as a group start to celebrate love and kindness, in our neighborhoods we will continue to have murder rates that make war-torn Afghanistan look like the mythical town Mayfield.