One of my favorite artists, of all time, Ice Cube along with Chuck D made a song titled Endangered Species. Endangered Species was an album cut on his debut solo album, AmeriKKKa’s Nightmare, after his departure from NWA. At the beginning of the song, there’s an interlude news cast about a new ‘animal’ that’s “falling off the face of the earth due to extinction.”
The song title would have you believe that the story is about an animal species on the brink of disappearing. This species the news reporter refers to is actually not an animal species, but young black males. The report goes on to say that the government has not made steps to preserve blacks. When a top law official was asked why, the answer was “because they make good game”.
After the news report, Ice Cube and Chuck D trade verses about how African Americans are targeted by both the police and our own kind. Because of black-on-black crime and police-on-black crime, our numbers continue to drop at a record rate.
“Endangered Species” was released in 1990. While police-on-black violence is nothing new, this prophetic record was made long before the high profile cases of the Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and now Michael Brown.
It seems as if it’s been open season on young black males for decades. Just like Elmer Fudd hunting Bugs Bunny, the police are willing to do anything to bag their prey. Old and recent history proves police are not above killing an unarmed black teenager, whose hands are up in surrender, before leaving his body in the streets for hours after the kill.
The obvious, sad truth is that America is not a safe place for African Americans. America the beautiful is a place where a black male can be choked to death by the police just for being suspected of selling loose cigarettes. It doesn’t matter if you committed the alleged crime. Either way, killing you will be justified because you resisted a trigger happy police officer’s arrest.
I’m not sure if anybody in the Staten Island Police Department has ever been choked. If they had, they would know that anybody in that position would do anything, even squirm, just to breathe again.
After countless stories about police brutality and murders committed against the black community at the hands of police officers, how is an African American male supposed to feel? He can’t be expected to feel safe, while knowing the next trip to the gas station could be his last.
To all the parents, guardians and loved ones who are trying to make sense of the unreasonable, while teaching the black men you love to be strong and vigilant, I commend you.
How can you prepare yourself, your sons and nephews to overcome a problem that doesn’t seem to have an attainable solution?
Talk to me, I’ll talk back.