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Posted by on Apr 26, 2015 in About Blackacre, Black Issues, Black Lives Matter, Civil Rights, Constitutional Rights, crime, Criminal Justice, Excessive Force, Family and Children, Freddie Gray, Leadership, Parenting, Police Abuse, Police Video, politics, Progressive policy, Progressive Think Tank, Progressives, Public Policy, Race, Recording the Police, social welfare, Socio Economics, Think Tank, Uncategorized | 9 comments

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

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


  1. Thank you for touching a topic that is far too often overlooked. Too often we blame kids for learned behaviors. The reality is, in these types of communities the leaders are drug dealers, rappers and athletes. Let’s face it, if your household combined income is above 75K you don’t live in these types of neighborhoods therefore all of your insight, knowledge, and wisdom never make it to these communities but what does make it are examples set by all of the people these young kids are imitating. Even Though the definition of the problem has expanded over the years, the answer to this problem has always been the same. More direct involvement in the communities. Drug dealer drives by with his window down, stops and greets the kids. lawyer drives by with his windows up rolling threw stop signs. What lesson is being learned? I don’t blame the kids. I actually applaud them for learning basic survival skills from the examples that are placed before them. I blame the so called leaders who think its more important for them to be seen in a corporate office building or leaving star bucks than be a present example in these communities that they were elected to change. You can’t change a diaper without putting your hands on it so how can you expect to change a community without being part of it. These kids respect these images because they are active parts of there lives. Its important that we are part of these communities because its important that we move the conversation forward in these communities.So if I had the chance to speak with this 13 year old kid, I would tell him the same thing I tell the 13 year old kids that I currently mentor. The world is bigger than your street and if you give me a small chance I will show you just how big the world is.

    • Thanks. I love the diaper analogy. But again, is this a question of blame or responsibility?

  2. You are anything but long winded and I agree with your basic position. We don’t know our history because we don’t want to know our past. And the real tragedy is it is so easy to access. I am of the opinion that the black church should be the repository of African American history. What do you think?

  3. Leo,
    GREAT MESSAGE! Not only is that a great question “What in the hell are we going to do about it?” but we need to follow that question with; “how are we going to get the message out that unnecessary and inappropriate deaths are a decimation of the human race, and specifically the African American Race, (Families) . The death of anyone, Black on Black, Black on White, White on White, is sad and a ridiculous waste of human life. But Police White on Black Death seems to bring about the greatest reaction by us from what is a result of the hurt and pain we experience. Usually we can identify with the loss because, it could have been one of our own family members, our own children, our own friends. We should feel the same suffrage whenever there is any unnecessary and inappropriate death! When our response is extreme for one case over the other due to who killed who, not why did this person get killed, we the people should revisit our morals and our priorities for the value of anyone’s life. “Black Lives Matter” is a good mantra, but until we value life itself, these unfortunate deaths will be a reminder of how little we do value life itself. Let’s learn to be more tolerant, so that we can live together, not just “Fight the Power!”
    Patrick Jackson

    • Thanks Pat. Black lives will only matter when we honor the sanctity of our own lives.

  4. An all to familiar picture was just painted. I remember an old book I read forever ago, “How to make a slave”. Still in action..,

    The psychological breakdown of a person or group of people is easier when it self perpetuating. Some would say, ” I hear you talking, but what are you going to do about it”.

    Here is what I do:
    1. I don’t have these issues with my children because my life is dedicated to not only them, but their offspring as well.
    2. People have yet to resolve a great dilemma: how to get everything they want without actually doing all the work to get it.
    3. Help yourself and by proxy you help others, or get out of the way. That “getting out of the way”, is typically death or jail.
    4. You get exactly what you worked for, no more, no less, so whatever you life is, look at you, your effort versus your expectation.

    • Stated differently, what you think is what you get. Thanks. I always appreciate your comments.

  5. The lack of generational accountability is to blame. Since the late 70’s African Americans have lost their sense of community. Long gone are the days when our neighborhoods worked as a functional community. Our identity has been transformed into a glorified falsification of the negative stereotype; which is compounded by the tv and music industry which markets to our demographic and we continue to buy that garbage. We have become a people who blames external factors instead of correcting the factors that are in our control. Our broken psychology won’t allow us to place the blame on ourselves. It is easier to blame those who are public figures for the injustices they inflict on our community than it is to rally against our own community for its irresponsible conduct. Until we can unite against the criminal mindset that permeates within our neighborhoods and boycott the exploitation of our communities we will continue to suffer from the the injustices that plague our community.

    • This is so well stated. You should write a blog from the perspective of your generation.

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