“During a meeting with media on Thursday, Jazmine’s mother, LaPorsha Washington, provided a new description of the suspect.
She said he was a white man with blue eyes…” (-abc13.com)
As it turns out, Jazmine’s shooter is black.
And this made me reflect on all of the publicity… all of the attention and the community proaction that her case got. From a rapidly expanding reward by, writer and activist, Shaun King, and others; to the donation of a weekly playoff check for Jazmine’s funeral expenses by Deandre Hopkins; to community protests and demands for justice… Black people went all out.
And that was awesome. Because that’s what we should do.
The problem is that, we don’t usually do it.
So, why now?
It made me wonder, in earnest, whether she would have gotten the same response if it hadn’t been alleged that her shooter was white.
I mean, let’s think about it. African-American children die regularly at the hands of shooters on an all too frequent basis. Look at what goes on in Chicago. Chi-town is a hot-bed of gang violence and gun deaths; and it hosts no shortage of random pediatric murders. So, my question is: How often do celebrities get involved and demand that the shooters are found and brought to justice?
Remember Sandra Parks? She was the 13-year old girl from Milwaukee who wrote an award-winning essay about gun violence; and who was later gunned down in her own home when a stray bullet pierced her window. This happened in November… only days before Thanksgiving. And although 2 people were charged in her shooting, where was the public outrage? Did Shaun King even mention Sandra? Did an athlete offer to pay for her services?
I wonder if her city held a rally in her honor. I’m sure that her neighborhood held the requisite vigil, but where were the rallies and the public protests?
African American children often become the victims of gang violence or gun play, and die in their homes or playing innocently on their blocks. So why don’t any of their shootings become a cause de celebre?
Zarriel Trotter is a 13-year old boy who was part of an award-winning anti-violence campaign, complete with a PSA that can be found on YouTube. He was shot in the lower spine… yet, another unintended victim of a gunman’s bullet. He survived, but the latest articles that I could find on him stated only that… using words like, “critically wounded” and “clinging to life”. His story seems to now be suspended in mid-air, as the press gave him a whole 3 days of coverage… and never seemed to update his condition afterwards. I assume that he is still alive; but is he able to even walk?
Did any celebrities fund his GoFundMe?
I doubt it. When I checked it prior to writing this, it indicated that an entire $850 of the $5000 goal had been raised… nowhere close to celebrity status.
Less than one year ago, Chicago saw the deaths of 3 children in a 4-day span of time: Takiya Holmes, 11, was hit in the head by a stray bullet as she sat in a van in a parking lot. She died 3 days later.
On the same Saturday that Takiya was shot, so was Kanari Gentry Bowers, a 12-year old girl who was shot while playing outside in an entirely different part of the city. She died the day after Takiya.
And then there was little 2-year old Lavontay White, also struck in the head by a bullet on the same Tuesday that Takiya died. Lavontay died immediately.
Who’s saying their names?
Did you even recognize them?
Neither did I.
But, I bet that you’ll remember Jazmine’s.
So, why did her death carry so much more weight? Was it because the shooter was purported to be white? Must have been, because I see no other distinction between all of these victims and Jazmine.
And how sad is that?
It seems that we’re saying that if your shooter is of assumed negroid ancestry, no matter how innocent you are; no matter what you were doing; and no matter where you were or how young you are; then your killing isn’t worthy of mention and public attention, much less money.
If your killer’s not white, then you didn’t die right, and we don’t need to talk much more about it.
That’s what we’re saying. We just haven’t realized it yet.
We still hate ourselves so much that we elevate, and unwittingly celebrate, white people who kill us. They are worth a reward, but their murderous black counterparts are not.
Jazmine’s death doesn’t just illustrate black-on-black violence; rather, it illuminates black-on-black disdain… and from those of us who should know better.