Child Thugs and the Disconnect with “Black Lives Matter”
His countenance is harmless enough. Jonathan is all of 13 years old, slight of frame and pencil thin, weighing no more than 120 pounds even when wet. With a head full of nappy dark hair, there is nothing to distinguish him from any other early teen. He is just another young “Brotha” on the cusps of manhood. But what he does and believes; how he thinks and behaves not only threatens our community, but reveals a critical flaw in the “black lives matter” movement.
In images posted on social media, the Memphis native can be seen smoking an all but invisible dark, thin item. For a 13-year-old to use tobacco is bad enough. But this is no legal substance he imbibes. It instead appears to be marijuana. And while his left hand is empty it is nevertheless busy. With fingers twisted and pinched, he flashes what to him is important; a gang sign.
The second photo is even more unsettling. Poised at eye level and aimed at the camera, the young assassin holds a gun. He leaves little question that he knows how and when to use it. His character and values are further evidenced by his posted lyrics, i.e., “[f]ifty shot, thirty shot, hit you with it… F – yo Glock. I bet I make your heart stop.”
When asked by a local reporter to explain himself, the aspiring rapper (go figure), had a not so surprising response. He said he was imitating his favorite rapper “Chief Keef who got famous from that, right?” Also not surprisingly, his family claimed ignorance of his less than stellar behavior. This even though his older brother was killed in an act of gun violence, his older sister sits in jail on charges of aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, aggravated kidnapping and firearm violations. Moreover, the pungent odor of marijuana can be detected a mile away. See http://rollingout.com/shame-on-you/shocking-instagram-account-13-year-old-boy-shows.
It is no overstatement to say that Jonathan is more than a trouble youth. He is a ticking time bomb set to explode. Soon he will grow from being a child thug to a man thug. And rest assured he will do precisely what he said, i.e., “fifty shots, thirty shots, F – yo with a Glock, make your heart stop.” Needless to say, his victims will invariably be Black.
In past entries we have noted the selectivity; the inconsistency of our outrage. When a black person is murdered by law enforcement or another other ethnic group we are incensed. We march, we protest and we demand justice. Take for example the troubling situation involving Baltimore’s Freddie Gray. Yet, we shrug our shoulders, brush off or otherwise excuse the killing and exploitation of blacks by other blacks.
This is the problem we have with the “Black Lives Matter” movement in particular and the African-American community in general. It is the rank hypocrisy with which we treat the issue of violence directed against us. Black lives seem to matter only when taken by someone else.
To be sure Jonathan and others like him will visit unmitigated damage upon the African-American community. They will disrespect and abuse black women. They will assault and kill other black males. They will poison us with drugs and violence, encourage their peers to do the same and bully/intimidate those who do not follow their lead; who refuse to endorse their lifestyle.
Sadly Jonathan is hardly unique. There are hundreds of thousand if not millions of young boys just like him. His self posted video generated close to 12,000 social media followers.
Worse, even at 13 he will sire but not raise children as often, continuously and decidedly as possible. And his children will inexorably mal-parent their children well into the foreseeable future; thereby spreading the malady for generations to come.
This one boy-man/man-boy is emblematic of much that vexes our community, i.e., a dysfunction sub-culture and the warped values thereof, neglected children, broken families and non- parenting, generations of lost youth, the availability and ready use of guns and drugs, the abuse of social media, criminality, black on black violence/exploitation and the fatal failure to hold ourselves accountable.
The Rolling Out article poses the question, “who is more to blame here?” It’s answers is “certainly not Chief Keef.”
Nonetheless, we do not buy the “someone else made me do it” excuse. None would forgive a police officer who bragged of making hearts stop with 30 or 50 shots from a police gun. We should therefore demand no less of black artist who are no more forced to demean the black community by white controlled record companies and producers than are the police. The bottom line is that we are all responsible for who we are and what we do.
In summary, black lives most certainly matter and we should express moral outrage at the racial injustice directed at African-Americans. It is a valid response to a pressing social and political problem.
But all lives mater all the time and in all circumstances. We should therefore be equally upset when blacks kill blacks. The same applies to black entertainers who profit from preaching violence and criminality to impressionable black youth and/or parents who refuse to raise their children. Ignorance of what our offspring are doing is no excuse even if sincere.
Thus, the query is not who is to blame for the Jonathans of this world. The question is instead what in the hell are we going to do about it.
Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO
Blackacre Policy Forum