Violence Among Blacks Not Shocking

9 01 2007

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The recent death of Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams at a New Year’s Eve party was sad and unfortunate. But not shocking. ESPN’s Jemele Hill writes about how such a death is not unexpected.

Over the past 12 months, three NFL players have been shot, and in the past couple weeks, police discovered one NFL player, Bears defensive lineman Tank Johnson, had enough weapons in his home to mount a terrorist attack. University of Miami lineman Bryan Pata was shot to death at his apartment complex in November. In Denver alone, three notable athletes have been shot since 2003 – Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter, Denver Nuggets guard Julius Hodge and now, tragically, Williams.

One unavoidable commonality about these episodes of gunplay: all of the athletes are black.

While America is generally a violent place, no culture in this country glorifies violence more than the African-American community. And consequently, no other racial group is as disproportionately affected by it.

Black men constantly receive the message that they can’t make it in life through using legitimate means, and the only way they gain society’s respect is through the street game.

So wearing a jersey every Sunday doesn’t protect you from anything. Of course, movies and songs don’t make people kill people, but they can influence the way people think and live.

But ultimately, if we want to see fewer black athletes as victims of violence, African-Americans must stop worshiping at the altar of their own demise.

Any significant change has to start in the home. Dads have to get involved in child rearing. Standards must be set and rules adhered to. You can’t force change on anyone, but for those willing, the church can be a great guide.

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