This 81-year-old writer asks, “How long will the slaughter of African American males continue?” In my lifetime, Black males have been tortured, executed, and hung from trees. This writer witnessed our family cotton gin and general store burned to the ground, twice, by racists. Today, horses have been replaced with cars; and sticks and ropes traded for guns. In Fruitland Park, Florida, sheets of a notorious hate group were traded for law enforcement uniforms. On behalf of Dan’te Parker, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Donte Jordan; and others, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I ask “How long?” Through the years the south was infamous for racial hatred and abominable acts, however, now barbaric activities against Blacks take place nationwide.
Weekly, in California, Missouri, Alabama, Illinois, Ohio, all across the nation, a Black mother’s son dies at the hands of professed law enforcement personnel who are sworn to protect, not to kill our citizens. Black men have been shot in the back; shot in the top of the head; choked, and electrocuted to death by law enforcement officers. How long before these atrocities are stopped?
Dan’te, a hard-working, good natured, father of five children, who loved to sing, left home in Victorville, California riding his son’s mongoose bike because Dante’s bike had a flat tire. He was exercising to lose weight. Dante was stopped at approximately 5 PM by a Deputy Sheriff because of a reported attempted break-in at a residence. The resident, reporting the incident, said the suspect left riding a bicycle. ‘A Black man on a bike’ was stopped by a law enforcement officer, stunned by a Taser “multiple times”, “more than five times”, was dead by 6 PM, and his family never notified. Why? How Long?
By 11 PM, when her husband had not returned home, a concerned, alarmed, wife began phone calls only to be informed that her husband was at a medical facility. Accompanied by her father-in-law, the wife went to the facility, was questioned by detectives, and after several hours of waiting, when she asked to see her husband, was informed that her husband’s body had been transported from Victorville, in San Bernardino County, to Riverside County. The family was never notified. Reportedly Dante’s six year old son asks every morning, “Why all black men have to die?” This writer asks, “How Long?”
The eleventh edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines genocide as: “The deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.”
How long will this seemingly open season on Black males continue? From the cradle, through the prison, to the grave, seems to be the designated channel for too many Black males in our society. Blacks do not own the airplanes and ships that bring drugs to the neighborhood, nor do we manipulate the systems that eliminate jobs. However, there is always an ample supply of drugs and gangs on the street corners. Seemingly, there are those who destine Black youth to go from the schoolhouse to the courthouse to the jailhouse, so that they have no opportunities to be in their own house. How long will we tolerate this systematic demise of a people?
The outrage crosses racial, generational, gender, and all barriers. A 90 year old Caucasian female survivor of the Holocaust was arrested in Ferguson, Missouri as she marched for transparency and justice. We send Black males around the world to protect the very hands which needlessly kill them in their own country. How Long will this continue?
How long will culturally uneducated politicians refuse to listen to those who have “boots on the ground” in the Black communities and culture?
This “open season” and massacre of Black males must end. How long? I hope not long because we can wait no longer for accountability and an end to the genocide.
Dr. Mildred D. Henry