I’m raising two African-American young men. My oldest son attends a Historically Black College and my youngest son is enrolled in high school. One day, my youngest son said: “Dad, I’m walking to the library.” In typical teenage fashion, he walked out of the house, put on his earphones and his hood because it was cold outside. About thirty seconds after he left the house, I had a panic attack. I realized that both his hearing and his vision were partially impaired because of his earphones and hoodie. I thought: What if a random police officer, who was engaged in racial profiling, identified him as “suspicious” and asked him to stop walking. My son could be killed “walking while black” because he could not hear him. I ran out of the house and down the street calling his name. He couldn’t hear me. When I reached him, I told him to take off his ear phones and his hoodie. I told him that I was glad to see him go to the library so that he could be a credit to humanity and study the methods by which to improve society for all people; however, I reminded him that there were two sets of rules in America. I said: “Remember, you have to beat the odds: Be wise, stay alive, prosper and contribute.” I believe that Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu is correct: There is a conspiracy to kill black boys. Also, I believe that Dr. Michele Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, provides the empirical evidence to substantiate Dr. Kunjufu’s claim.
King Solomon reminds us in the book of Ecclesiastes that there is “…nothing new under the sun (see Ecclesiastes 1:9). In order to increase the odds that Jesus would be killed at birth, King Herod commanded that all children in Bethlehem under the age of two be killed (Matthew 2:16). Thank God Joseph fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus in order to save Jesus’ life (Matthew 2:13).
Unfortunately, there are modern day Herods. Some are driven by greed and profit while others are driven by hatred and fear. For those who care about the future of African-American children, it is important that we continue to fight against injustice while continuing to strengthening the democracy in which we exist (e.g., voting and lobbying). As we “build a more perfect union,” it is also imperative that we challenge any political rhetoric, from liberals or conservatives, which seek to ignore the importance of Black Life. It is our Christian responsibility to attempt to show love to everyone in society (i.e., neighbors and enemies – see Matthew 22:39 and Matthew 5:44) while championing the cause of the disrespected, despised and devalued within it.