Black males are headed to­ward ex­tinc­tion, and no one seems to care

Baltimore Sun - - COMMENTARY - By Otis M. Buck­son Jr. Otis M. Buck­son Jr. is a hu­man ser­vices ad­min­is­tra­tor; his email is

Black men are be­ing slaugh­tered across this coun­try — at a par­tic­u­larly alarm­ing rate here in Bal­ti­more — but where’s the out­rage? Where are all the sol­diers with au­to­matic weapons? The po­lice­men on ev­ery cor­ner? Where are the health de­part­ment of­fi­cials call­ing for a cure to this epi­demic?

I don’t mean out­rage from cit­i­zens shout­ing and march­ing. I’m re­fer­ring to out­rage from hu­man ser­vice pro­fes­sion­als, the med­i­cal com­mu­nity, the pres­i­dent. I’m still wait­ing for Pres­i­dent Barack Obama to in­ter­rupt my fa­vorite tele­vi­sion show be­cause he has de­clared a state of emer­gency. We send sol­diers to other coun­tries to stop killings and called upon re­servists to deal with the so-called ri­ots that oc­curred in Bal­ti­more. But no one’s com­ing to the res­cue over the ev­ery­day deaths of black men on U.S. city streets.

Do black lives re­ally mat­ter? Here in the city, the an­swer is a re­sound­ing no. I’m not one to play the race card, but it’s in the deck for a rea­son. When a white woman was mur­dered in Roland Park, there were cadets can­vass­ing the com­mu­nity for clues. But when An­to­nio Buck­son was mur­dered on Mother’s Day, of all days, in Ell­wood Park — si­lence. He was just an­other black man dead in the streets of Bal­ti­more. He was also my baby brother. So yes, I do have per­sonal rea­sons for want­ing jus­tice to be served. Nev­er­the­less, I am­sim­ply tired of turn­ing on my tele­vi­sion only to see sto­ries of black men mur­dered all across this great na­tion of ours. We are still a great na­tion, right? Maybe not.

No other group of peo­ple could ex­pe­ri­ence this type of in­ci­dent with­out call­ing for the cav­alry.

I’m one of those hu­man ser­vice pro­fes­sion­als who need to dis­play the type of out­rage that can spark a na­tion­wide re­sponse. I fielded a call from an AfricanAmer­i­can par­ent of a young black male, re­cently. She was in­ter­ested in sign­ing her son up for GED classes, she said — she doesn’t want to see him mur­dered. Is that all that life has to of­fer for black men? Are we pre­des­tined for ex­tinc­tion?

Maybe that’s it, the thing that would fi­nally get some at­ten­tion. When an­i­mals are con­sid­ered vul­ner­a­ble or en­dan­gered, there is a swift and wide­spread re­sponse. We pro­tect tigers be­cause they are pre­cious. The world frowns upon those who at­tempt to kill chee­tahs; what mag­nif­i­cent crea­tures. The na­tion grieved for a sil­ver­back go­rilla who was killed to save a lit­tle boy. We don’t want to imag­ine a world with­out our most trea­sured an­i­mals, yet we’re ambivalent to­ward black hu­man lives. Will the day come when it be­comes rare to see an African-Amer­i­can man? And what will that mean for the coun­try?

I have reached a point of frus­tra­tion and, quite hon­estly, em­bar­rass­ment. How can a coun­try as great as the United States al­low a war to rage in its own back­yard while we’re fight­ing wars on the soil of other na­tions? I’m em­bar­rassed that we in­car­cer­ate a large seg­ment of our pop­u­la­tion for non­vi­o­lent crimes. I’m em­bar­rassed be­cause our prison in­dus­try is so prof­itable. I’m em­bar­rassed that the po­lice de­part­ment charged with pro­tect­ing me is re­ally out to harm me, ac­cord­ing to the Jus­tice De­part­ment’s re­cent re­port on Bal­ti­more po­lice.

I am a black man, and be­ing one can cost me my life. It cost my brother his. Will it take my son’s life, too?

As you see, I have a lot of ques­tions. More sur­pris­ing is that mil­lions of Amer­i­cans aren’t ask­ing the same ques­tions. Have we be­come de­sen­si­tized to vi­o­lence? I need some­one to stand up and cry with me: “Things must change in our coun­try.”

How long will un­der­stand? it take be­fore we

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.