By Raynard Jackson
From July 20-July 24, I refused to watch TV or listen to the radio. The 20th was the day the media frenzy began in the aftermath of the shootings in Aurora, Colorado. Though my heart goes out to any family that lost a loved one, it’s very difficult to justify the around-the-clock media saturation that followed those horrendous shootings. We should value all life, not just when mass murder occurs in the suburbs or some White blond female turns up missing on a sunny island.
Black children have died in massive numbers in Chicago for years, few people seem to notice or fewer seem to even care. No, I am not trying to turn the Colorado shooting into a racial issue. But I am saying the race of the victims does matter, at least when it comes to national media attention. During the first half of this year in Chicago, 201 of 259 homicide victims were Black (44 were Hispanic, and 11 were White). There have been more homicides in Chicago this year than the number of our soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If the media really wanted a story, they wouldn’t ignore those figures. Blacks account for 33 percent of the city’s population, but accounted for 78 percent of the homicides during this time period. According to spokesman for the Chicago police department, “most of the violent crime happened in poor, mostly Black neighborhoods on the South and West sides [mind you that President Obama lives on the South side]…and a majority of both homicide victims and offenders are young Black men with criminal records… With one exception, Blacks have made up more than 70 percent of homicide victims in Chicago every year for the last two decades.”
President Obama and Romney, the Republican who wants to replace him, both suspended political ads in Colorado, they both made statements the same day of the shootings and suspended their campaigns for the day. The president even made a special trip to Colorado to pay his condolences. But he hasn’t made a regular of special trip to Chicago, his adopted hometown, to deplore the killings there. And nor has Romney. Maybe they feel there is no political gain in carrying about the Southside’s losses.
As professor Cornel West says in the title of one of his books, Race Matters. And so does class. In Colorado the victims were middle to upward middle class suburbanites. In Chicago the victims were poor and Black.
In today’s politically correct society, no one wants to speak the truth. The problem of crime has everything to do with poverty—not economic poverty; but rather a poverty of values. There are no absolute principles in society anymore. Marriage is no longer defined by the union of one male and one female. Children are no longer born male or female. Lying is no longer wrong.
Marriage is now defined as between two people who love each other (regardless of gender); children now say that were born in the wrong body and want to have surgery to change their sexual organs. Lying is now contingent upon the reason for the lie.
This breakdown in values— where there are no absolutes, is at the root of the crime problem in Chicago and throughout the country. There are absolutes. There is right and wrong. Marriage is between one man and one woman. Your sexuality is what you are at birth. Lying is wrong, period.
Obama has not said a word about what’s going on in Chicago, though he is from there. Romney doesn’t have the guts or the compassion to go there to meet with the community and share his vision for dealing with this issue.
The real crime is not the excessive media coverage of Aurora and the lack thereof for Chicago. Rather, it’s the acceptance by all that this is normal in the Black community. George W. Bush called it, “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
Look at what the director of the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab, Jens Ludwig had to say about Blacks and crime, “This program, however, suggests that violence is more responsive to targeted social programs than I had thought. There was an amazingly huge reduction in violence. It was a surprise to me. We really can prevent crime.” (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/13/a-new-way-to-fight-juvenile-crime-in-chicago.html). Are you kidding me? He was surprised that crime can be prevented?
This type of thinking from someone who is supposed to be educated and from one of the best rated schools in the country is stunning.
But most importantly, where is the moral outrage and righteous indignation from within the Black community over what is happening in Chicago. Where are the voices of President Obama, Jennifer Hudson, Michael Jordan, R. Kelly, Common—all of whom have Chicago ties? But let a supporter of Romney make a stupid comment about Blacks or Obama and these same people will be all over twitter. The silence is deafening.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. His website is: www.raynardjackson.com.