by Dr. Boyce Watkins
Gun violence is the leading cause of death for young black men. One of the great frustrations for the African American community is that politicians in Washington act as if the violence doesn’t exist, and our kids keep dying as a result.
The latest death was in Washington DC. Marckel Ross was killed on his way to school and his brother, Markies, actually drove by his dead body.
“I can’t believe somebody would do this to him,” Markies told the Washington Post. “He was a great person… Everybody loved him.”
Marckel didn’t seem to have any serious problems in his life, but he was the victim of bullying. This death was as shocking as the death of Amber Stanley, another teen in DC who was recently murdered while she slept in her bed. You can read more about Marckel’s death in The Washington Post.
While the people in Washington define the image of bullying to be someone making fun of gay kids in the suburbs, my image of an even more vicious bully is that of a 16-year old gang banger with an AK-47. As politicians look the other way while gun manufacturers grease their pockets by letting deadly weapons slip through the cracks, our kids are paying a price for our silence. Those who don’t die before the age of 18 are every bit as traumatized as combat veterans, watching their friends die one-by-one.
This should not be what a childhood is all about.
Are we going to speak up for these kids? I certainly hope so. The voices should rise from the bottom to the very top, and that includes the black man in the White House who was so concerned about those dead kids in Colorado.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. He also appears in the Janks Morton film “Hoodwinked.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.