By Alonzo Weston.
Dear Sticky Questions,
Why do you think the reaction to the shooting at Sandy Hook has been so widespread and persistently discussed in the news when gun violence against children occur in major urban areas on a daily basis? Do you think if the shooting had occurred at a poor urban school that the outrage would have been the same or as long lasting?
~Irritated in Chicago
Last December, a troubled young man named Adam Lanza shot and killed twenty children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut.
Around the same time, news outlets across the country reported on the Chicago murder count for the year. The death toll due to gun violence had reached 500 casualties by the end of 2012. Many, if not all, of the victims were black youth.
In some circles, there was discussion about the level of coverage for both incidents. Some thought that the Sandy Hook killings, where those killed were white got more coverage than the much larger number of black kids killed daily in cities like Chicago.
Is this yet, another subtle form of racism that once again shows that a black life is worth less than a white one? Have we become desensitized to the black killings because they happen so frequently?
For noted author and speaker Ezechiel Bambolo, the answer lies not from without but within the black community. It less a race issue than one of family values and traditions he says. It’s a tradition of being hung up on the negativities of the past like slavery and not focusing on the positives of the black existence.
“We need to change the conversation from how we survived the past to what we are looking for, for the future of our children that will allow our voices to be heard a lot stronger,” Bambolo says.
Growing up in Liberia, Bambolo said he and his family lived in extreme poverty. In the midst of his country’s civil war, there was the same phenomenon of black youths killing other black youths. The key to his survival was not letting the poverty or the environment define him or limit his vision.
It’s not so much about the perception of whether black life is viewed less valuable by others but how blacks themselves see that value. It’s our job in the black community to see the value in our own lives and people.
“I lived in severe poverty but that does not define who I am,” Bambolo says. Too many of our young African-American people are defined by the hood. They don’t even want to travel to the next city because white people live there. Cross the river, go see what they are about and assert yourself with pride. Don’t put me here because I belong here, I can do whatever I want because I know my ancestors have done some great things in this nation.”
Article reprinted with permission of USAonRace.com
Featured Photo Credit: blog.timesunion.com
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