Race and Violence In America: We Are All Newtown

by Kirsten West Savali
Aliyah Shell, 6; Heaven Sutton, 7

Aliyah Shell, 6; Heaven Sutton, 7, both victims of gun violence in Chicago.

Six-year-old Aliyah Shell was standing on the front porch with her mother and younger sister when she was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Chicago.

Seven-year-old Heaven Sutton was standing next to her mother in front of her home selling candy when gunshots rang out on her Chicago block and she crumbled on the pavement, dead from a stray bullet.

Sandra Tyler held her 13-year-old son, Tyquan, in her arms as he bled out on a Chicago sidewalk, another random victim of a senseless, drive-by shooting.

“I held him in my arms on the sidewalk and talked to him while he was fighting for his life,” Tyler said in June. “I regret letting him go to the party. He was my baby — so loving and respectful.”

And the list of black and brown children goes on and on…

Without fanfare or pomp and circumstance, mothers and fathers in rural towns and urban cities mourn their children quietly, as their memories fade from America’s conscious like tiny footprints in the sand.

There will never be an appropriate time to say that this nation only stands at attention when the majority of victims are white Americans, as was the case at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut, so I might as well say it today.

It is horrifying what happened to those babies. As my mentor, Rebecca Carroll, so unerringly stated, for a parent, the thought of what transpired within the confines of Sandy Hook conjures up not just “visceral” emotions, but “primal” urges. We know hallways smelling of chalk and sanitizer, with the faint sounds of math and science echoing down the halls, empty with the exception of the lone student on a bathroom break and the teacher’s aide dashing to make copies.

We hear the laughter and screams on the playgrounds; we can imagine the whispers and the memories being made — check yes or no — when a crazed madman burst into their 6- and 7-year-old worlds with a big scary gun that mommy and daddy couldn’t save them from. The terror seizes our hearts as if those were our children — because they could have been. And the deepest fear most parents have is not being there to protect them when they need us most.

But therein lies the fundamental difference.

The nation doesn’t stop when the Heavens and Aliyahs of the world are snatched from us too soon. How many outside of our own communities demand gun control legislation when the victim is brown-eyed and kinky-haired, and not blue-eyed and blond?

White American children in this country who become victims of gun violence are a sign of shattered innocence, an anomaly that must be analyzed and dissected to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Black and Brown American children who become victims serve as an indictment of our communities, our homes and our parenting.

Even white perpetrators are assessed delicately. Adam Lanza was a good kid, let media and friends tell the tale — a genius even, who simply exhibited maladaptive social tendencies. His loving mother Nancy, who taught him how to shoot her cache of high powered rifles before he shot her in the head multiple times, was an exceptional parent. This tableau leaves many white Americans in paralyzing fear, because, gotdamnit, if being white, rich and Christian doesn’t afford you some protection in this crazy, mixed up world, then we’re all doomed.

President Barack Obama, a Commander-in-Chief for whom murdered black children has never made the itinerary beyond a Rose Garden soundbite and MTV during the election cycle, rushed to Newtown, Connecticut — as he did Aurora, Colorado – to comfort and console the community:

I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief, that our world, too, has been torn apart, that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you. We’ve pulled our children tight.
And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide. Whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it. Newtown, you are not alone.
You know, someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around.

With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves, our child, is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice, and every parent knows there’s nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm. And yet we also know that with that child’s very first step and each step after that, they are separating from us, that we won’t — that we can’t always be there for them.

They will suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments, and we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear. And we know we can’t do this by ourselves. It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself, that this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community and the help of a nation. And in that way we come to realize that we bear responsibility for every child, because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we’re all parents, that they are all our children.

This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.

And we will be found lacking.

Though President Obama briefly touched on toxic gun violence across the country, the close to 300 Chicago Public Schools students killed by violence over a 3 year period still deserve a vigil; the 27 Palestinian children killed by U.S. and Israeli funded weaponry in this latest conflict deserve a vigil; the 178 children killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen also deserve a vigil.

More urgently, as a nation we must move beyond the shallow rhetoric of  “we can do better” to actually implementing targeted, effective policies across the spectrum, from gun control to mental health, that will dismantle the blood-thirsty war machine, domestic castes systems and the entrenched systemic and systematic racism that leaves white America stunned when incomprehensible violence kicks in their front doors and the rest of America resigned when it tears down theirs.

Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t make it more heinous because there were 20 children murdered at one time in a quiet, well-to-do enclave; there is no package deal on grief. The unconscionable act of the killer may take brutal to new heights, but it does not tilt the scales on the collective value of the lives lost. Peel apart the tear-stained layers, and there are individual families who will grieve in their homes alone years after the candles have been blown out and the flowers have withered and died. And they are no different from families suffering in silence around the world.

Red and yellow, black and white, they are all precious. And until we, as human beings, begin to treat them as such, until we purposefully live the creed that “an injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere,” our chickens will continue to come home to roost.

And innocent children will continue to fall victims to a world not of their own making.

***In honor of the 27 innocent victims of violence in Newtown, Connecticut, and all over the world. May they rest in peace and love.***

  • D.T.

    This was well written and very true. You put how I have been feeling about this whole SHES situation in better words than I could ever have. My condolences to the families? Yes, but where is all this outcry and support for all the innocent black children’s lives cut short?

    I had to really check my emotions and turn off my television because I became angered at the picture they kept showing of the little blue eyed blond haired girl. I know it’s not her fault they keep showing the picture but it just bothers me.

    Now for my rant: I wish people would stop saying “hug your kids tonight” or “hug your kids a little tighter.” those statements are both selfish and insensitive. Someone loses their child and your response is to hug yours tighter? This isn’t about you or your kids!

    Then again I’m not the most sensitive about other matters. So…..

  • Anthony

    Thank you for this article. As soon as I got sat the initial shock of Newtotwn, I began to this of the deafening silence when it comes to killings in the inner cities, reservations, and rural slums of America. Once you put the carnage in an international context, the silence is even more shameful.

  • Fantastico

    Best analysis on this tragedy yet.

  • http://gravatar.com/gennatay gennatay

    It’s so very sad that the violence in Chicago has become so common place that it doesn’t make the news anymore.

    This is a list of names of Children in Chicago who lost their lives to guns this is only for 2012. It was put together by Pastor Corey Brooks. You can learn more about his work for the children of Chicago here: http://coreybrooks.com/project-hood/

    65 died by gun violence. All under the age of 20. We have GOT to do more.

    Nicholas Camacho, Age 19
    Mark Watts, Age 15
    Valentin Bahena, Age 17
    Christian Peggs, Age 18
    Cory Campbell, Age 18
    Kurtis Stanton, Age 19
    Devonte Pippen, Age 18
    Anton Sanders, Age 15
    Deshun Winfert, Age 15
    Edgar Delgado, Age 17
    Jamal Harris, Age 19
    Damion Rolle, Age 14
    George Howard, Age 15
    Albert Guyton, Age 15
    Joshua Williams, Age 16
    Gustavo Reyes, Age 19
    Johnny Vargas, Age 19
    Anthony Scott, Age 19
    Aliyah Shell, Age 6
    Cedric Bell, Age 16
    Jaleen Armstrong, Age 18
    Roberto Luna, Age 13
    Brandon Miles, Age 19
    Donnel Rankin, Age 16
    Alejandro Jaime, Age 14
    Nazia Banks, Age 12
    Jeffrey Triplett, Age 17
    Jaylin Johnson, Age 18
    Jaleel Beasley, Age 19
    Marley Collins, Age 19
    Ivan Alanis, Age 13
    Jamal Lockett, Age 16
    Joseph Briggs, Age 16
    Romelo Golden, Age 17
    Shakaki Asphy, Age 16
    Henry Soyege, Age 19
    Antonio Davis, Age 14
    Tyquan Tyler, Age 13
    Heaven Sutton, Age 7
    William Cook, Age 19
    Lenard Trust, Age 17
    Myrion Currie, Age 19
    Demetrius Tribett, Age 19
    Adeniyi Adesida, Age 18
    Ricardo Alcantara, Age 18
    Zachary Berrios, Age 18
    Martin Tejeda, Age 16
    Nathaniel Gonzalez, Age 16
    Jamauri Askew, Age 16
    Akil Partee, Age 19
    Alixi Johnson, Age 17
    Douglas Bufford, Age 16
    Quincey Simmons, Age 18
    Cornell Ferguson, Age 16
    Johnqualus Turner, Age 16
    Tony Dunn, Age 19
    Anthony Brooms, Age 19
    Richard Johnson, Age 18
    Derrick Baker, Age 18
    Taylor Diorio, Age 17
    Alonzo Powell, Age 18
    Jaime Ruvalcaba, Age 15
    Alejandro Valdez, Age 15
    Lucian Dreux, Age 17
    Aaron Gaithan, Age 18

  • Anthony

    Sorry for all of the typos, those automatic iPad corrections can make me look illiterate sometimes. I think communities of color need to make their voices heard on this issue. We need to hold President Obama’s feet to the fire because too often he sternly lectures black communities about our shortcomings, I have never heard the sort of compassion that he showed for Newtown, Connecticut, when it comes to violence in his own hometown of Chicago.

    I know gun violence in the inner city and mass shootings are, not identical, Inner city shootings are much more likely to involve illegal guns while mass shootings are usually done with legally bought weapons. The major point is that all guns are legal at some time, and we have to regulate the, much more tightly.

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    Many of the sentiments expressed in this article crossed my mind this weekend.

  • Just as Concerned

    I had this same discussion with a friend of mine. And while I agree with you, in terms of the nations de-sensitization of violence in black communities in America, I can’t help but view this as different. Yes black and brown babies are passing away tragically ever day and we have yet to have the media attention that we need. But I hesitate to compare it to this mass tragedy in Newtown. First because it isn’t fair to anyone grieving (whether or not they are in Newtown) and second this was 27 people in one day, in one town. And the majority were children. If this happened at an school in, lets say brooklyn, the Media would be up in arms as well. Would be in the same light, with days of stories and pictures painted of innocence? I am not sure. And I hope we will never know. But its the gravity of the situation, it being a mass killings of innocence -no matter what the color of their skin is- that makes me sympathize. It may just be me, but I can understand the attention its gotten. Regardless violence is violence, and no matter where it happens or who it happens to attention needs to be paid, compassion needs to be spread, and solutions need to be made.

  • Jess

    Thank you for being brave and writing this piece. We all lose when any child loses their life to gun violence. May God keep you and bless you.

  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    The author isn’t arguing the tragic nature of the killings….the babies did not deserve to die this way…the babies in Chicago and all over America that get killed and die CONSTANTLY just don’t receive the same fanfare…black/hispanic life seems to mean much less than white life, this is the problem.

  • http://www.facebook.com/myeshashanee Myesha Mee-Mee Baker

    Thank you finally someone that agrees with me this shouldn’t be a damn race issue!

  • Sasha

    “Red and yellow, black and white, they are all precious.”
    I disagree with the racial slant this piece took but the quote from above is the one thing I took from this article to be the most true and central piece of this article. I know this angle is your specialty and hope that the comments don’t dissolve into the typical race baiting, (White) media hating bash session that often happens with articles of this nature. All these deaths are tragedies however there is something to be said about how react to when a life is taken in a community ridden with violence in comparison to when someone forces their way into a school and proceeds to cold-heartedly kill dozens of small children in a calculated manner.

  • Smilez_920

    I agree Ms.Information.

    Both situations are tragic. But we can’t act like black and brown children are not being shoot, or ducking gun fire almost everyday in their communities , and it seems as if there is no sympathy or mass mourning when their lives are lost.

    Some of the ppl in the community of Newton kept saying ” this shouldn’t happen here “. No offense but it shouldn’t happen anywhere . I also notice a lot of news anchors talking about the type of therapy these kids will need due to the trauma . And how they don’t want to up security to the point where the kids feel like they are in jail or on lockdown .

    Not staying I don’t agree with the anchors to an extent. But just think about how much therapy and help children who live in violent inner city / improvised areas need . I mean for a long time and even today in some areas making it to 18 is a blessing.

  • Chillyroad

    It’s called tribalism and the black women at this site better get used to it. I’m sorry to be so callous but we care about our own first and foremost.

  • Anthony

    I agree gun violence should not be race issue. That is why it makes me mad that it takes the death of twenty cute white children to move this country’s leaders, including a president with two black daughters, to actually do something.

  • apple

    i keep finding myself with the same reoccurring thought “if this were black/brown/maybe yellow kids no one would care” i mean they would care, but it wouldn’t be that much of an out pour, at least not for a long time like this will be…i try to be sympathetic because i am an empath and tragedy usually eats me up inside —feeling bad for those in pain…but its indifference i feel because i know that this thing mainly matters because these were white kids , in the right town, in the right tax bracket..its a weird feeling, to feel this way about death of children..i feel like i’m becoming a bad person or something :-/

  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    You aren’t a bad person…I just think that so many blacks are feeling like “what about us?”…the black kid that got shot because his music was loud, I haven’t heard anything else about him…as a matter of fact a white male commented on the ajc site that he hopes that more black males get shot….I think that many of us are feeling this way…I just don’t think had this happened at a black school to black babies that the reactions would be the same…who knows? I hope we never find out.

  • Anthony

    Your point about Newtown parents not wanting to make the schools feel like they are on lockdown really hits home for me. When I visit local schools in poor black communities, it is just like going into a courtroom, and no one bats an eye about it. We all have come to accept a criminalization of the way black kids are treated. No one talks talks about counseling for kids in the inner city who have been exposed cumulatively more death than the kids in Newtown will ever be exposed to.

  • Pingback: Blacks have mental health issues too (we’re not all thugs) | Frugivore Magazine

  • http://gravatar.com/rastaman1967 rastaman

    I know race is the prism through which we view everything in this country but it should not have to be like that. Everytime someone loses their life in this country due to violence is a tragedy and I therefore reject the thought of measuring one tragedy against the another. What ties Newtown and all the other incidents of children being shot down in our streets is America’s insane culture of violence where guns are the Holy Grail.

    “This morning, a madman attacked more than 20 children at an elementary school in China. As of this writing, there are no reported fatalities.
    A few hours later, a madman attacked an elementary school in Connecticut. As of this writing, 20 of those kids are dead.”
    That is a quote from a new story on December 14, 2012.

    “America eats the young, that’s the title” this piece should have had and we need to understand that a society that preys on its children with violence and neglect will not be long for this earth. Newtown hurts my soul because it was 20 children murdered in a place where we do not expect our children to be so wantonly victimized. I do not care what race they were because when it comes to killing children I do not care why, there is no explanation anyone can offer that will suffice. You are killing our future, whether you do it in the streets of Chicago or small town America. We make it easy for people to kill because it is so easy to access guns, rapid fire deliverers of death and destruction.

    People may kill people but people with guns kill a lot more people!

  • paul


    could you explain what you mean by tribalism as you relate to this topic?

  • Ladybadurae

    It’s easy to empathize with people we see as similar to us or for whom the situation could have gone down similarly. Therefore, can we blame white people, who own the media, for popularizing white victims? The President should get a side-eye but granted he’s forced to comment because of the media uproar that made it a national news story.
    We(Read: the black community) need to gain control of the media or force the media to acknowledge us.

  • MimiLuvs

    I’m curious. In regards to Chicago, any suggestions?

  • Chillyroad

    Tribalism is the state of being organized in,[1] or advocating for, a tribe or tribes. In terms of conformity, tribalism may also refer to a way of thinking or behaving in which people are more loyal to their tribe than to their friends, their country, or any other social group.

  • Ashley

    No one will care about us, if we don’t care about ourselves. End of story. Start demanding back your neighborhoods.

  • paul

    What a horrible society america is.

    man against woman white against black adult against child.

    It’s surely not going to end well.

  • paul

    Ok but could explain why you raise it in this discussion? Not a challenge, I’m just curious about your line of thinking.

  • Chillyroad


    You are part of the problem. You werent going to defend that black quarterback RGIII or any of the other “negros” in the NFL because they have white wives but you want white America to care about you and yours? Why should they? They are like you. They won’t defend, empathise with or sympathise with those who aren’t in their group. Hypocrisy.

  • Chillyroad

    But the President has made many comments about violence in Chicago. Rahm Emmanuel has also. We have been talking about violence in Chicago since the 1930s.

  • Anthony

    I think we can blame those whites who do not feel compassion for the black victims of gun violence. If it were an appropriate thing to bet about, I would wager that virtually every black church in America prayed for the children who died in Newtown. In all fairness, twenty person massacres are not the sort of gun crime that is common in our community, but I know more than a few “good Christian” whites easily shrug off gun violence in the black community as simply a moral shortcoming on the part of those who perpetrate the violence and those who are hurt by it. That is why the lazy first answer that the police give when a black male is shot is drugs or gang violence.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    bottom line : not ONE thing will be done towards gun control…..

  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    I pay taxes, this is why…I don’t play less because I get respected less do I? Change the tax code, whites get better services, they pay more taxes….Silly Chilly, you are part of the problem, you come here, offer no solutions, are negative about everything and I can tell that you have a depressive and sad life, you are the problem..

  • Anthony

    I wouldn’t bet on it, but I think you might be wrong this time. If you are right, it may never happen during my life.

  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    Making comments and DOING something are two different things.

  • victoria

    Honestly, this is not the first, not the 10th, not the 395th article to discuss this topic. The same plays out for missing people. Black women and children receive less media attention. Men receive minimal attention What I wonder is how many articles have to be written before the black community stops expecting the media and white America to act on OUR behave? What are they suppose to do? Give a dam*…really? Stop expecting them to fix OUR communities and to react in the same manner to OUR tragedies. It should be obvious in 2013 that WE have to do what’s expected of US. And why do you want sympathy from the white community? Will that change anything?

    In the 80s when black on black violence was spearing it’s ugly head, we had Sharpton and Jesse complaining that the police and the politicians were ignoring OUR plight. Now, over 20 years later (OUR neighborhoods are worse), yet we want them to grieve with us. Not going to happen.

  • victoria

    @Ms Info

    I would like do know what do you think Pres Obama should do. Are you talking about gun control? Im not sure, but I can assume that the guns that the Chicago gang members use are illegal. As compared to the guns used in these mass killings which are legal. Im for gun control, but I wonder how authorities can control illegal guns.

  • TT

    I can honestly say that race does play a factor in the coverage of gun violence but the fact the there were 26 people dead in only one instance not over a few days or weeks is what gets publicized the most. I do think we need to have a discussion more about everyday gun violence that’s happening right now. Mass shootings always get mass media coverage especially if they’re in an “affluent area”. Nothing will happen with gun control unfortunately and pretty soon we’ll be discussing the next mass shooting. And there will be no in depth discussion about the everyday gun violence in the inner cities. And I also think that with most of these mass shootings the guns are legally obtained whereas in inner city shootings the gun are mainly illegally obtained. We need to discuss the gun violence everywhere and why it’s soo perpetual in inner city that have a mostly black and latino population. The kids in the inner cities need therapy. Every time a white person does a shooting, that person has a mental illness but when it’s a person of color, they’re just an animal. We need to change the public discussion of gun violence in general.

  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    @ Victoria, the same things that he will do because of this tragedy….possibly changing laws….policies, that is a start. Joining with local law enforcement to get criminals off the street and keep them off of the street. Programs and jobs to give youth an option to gangs…there are things that can be done.

  • baron

    What YOU have to ask yourself (talking to the author and the magazine) is if you would have published this article had it not been for the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary? If not… then you are as much of the problem as the rest of the media. Devote your magazine to the senseless murders of young black children and then continue to criticize everyone else

  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    Clutch has reported on the murders of young black people..

  • Apple

    Actually I think it’s more than that. Because not every black person comes from a bad neighborhood, or will be murdered by someone black. In general we would be ignore no matter the circumstance . So everything can’t be fixed with “fix your neighborhood and then it will work out”

  • SS25

    You obviously don’t visit Clutch much.

  • Chillyroad

    The media is run by advertising dollars not taxes. Cute little blonde children bring in viewers who buy products. Black and brown children do not. It is based on the same mentality you have. Those white wives of the NFL don’t look like you or your mother, sisters, cousins, auntys, or friends. White America is applying the same indifference to black children as you apply to those NFL “negros.”

    You can’t decide to be all inclusive Sesame St. when it suits you.

  • swissblackberries

    Ms Info

    Im not sure what laws need to be changed or set in place to curb violence? Harsher laws haven’t done a thing. These laws sure have kept black boys behind bars for too long.

    Regarding work programs, Im very realistic and dont think that will happen for several reasons. 1) It hasnt happened, yet. 2) This cost money. 3) Work ethic is vital. When you have children who arent encouraged to make school a priority it’s going to be difficult for them to make work a priority. As a former 7th grade teacher on Chicago’s Westside, I witnessed a lack of family stability and parental involvement. I honestly believe without stabilitty and parental guidance, your tax dollars, new laws and programs will not make a difference.

    Also, I do believe that apprenticeships from the age of 15 should be introduced to America’s school systems. Especially in areas where high drop out rates exist, and for those who will not attend university. This may keep some off the streets and provide them with skills.

  • Barbara2

    Thanks for posting that link so I could make a donation to Corey Brooks’ project. Thank you. Thank you.

  • victoria

    I never said everything can be fixed. But in cases like this, when two innocent girls are murdered due to gang violence, we can do something about it. Expecting others to come to our rescue or to cry our tears is unrealistic.

  • seriously?

    I dont usually agree With articles Mrs.Savali usually writes but this piece I agree with 100%

  • Taliah

    This is a ridiculous and each time we devalue a heinous and shameful act of violence when people die unneccesarily because “if this were black people, no one would care, it ridiculous. I guarantee if a black man bursted into a school and killed 20 black children, you would see that asshole on every news station, and you would hear about it as well. It is violence on a large scale, the shock value of that that sets people aflame and the media’s job is to sensationalize and capiltalize on the most shocking, horrendous aspects of current events. Unfortunately, and so sadly, it is not uncommon for minority children to be gunned down in urban areas, much to our dismay and grief. However, it is uncommonn for 20 children to be slain in mass. The same way that it is not uncommon for a black woman to take a black man to cocurt for child support. But when that man has 35 children, and 35 women are taking him to court for child support, there is sensation in that. It is marketable. It sells. So how dare you devalue those children and people’s lives by being so petty in this moment to say, if those people were black, you wouldnt see them on the news. How about, thse are PEOPLE! Which we all are. If these people were black would it be any more sad. No! So have some sympathy, respect, and tact for the people that just lost their babies, and have the class to not write the garbage 3 days after the incident. How would you feel this were one of your children and someone had the nerve to say, psh, their not white kids. So it doesnt matter. You making the statement you said is the EXACT same, regardless of your perceived belief about its truth or not. Jeez, people, at some point, it is about humanity, and not about black, white, yellow, purple, green, whatever.

  • SS25

    So,its uncommon for a black woman to take a black man to court for child support? Really!! Have you done any research, talked with every black single mother? My guess is no. Stop generalizing black single mothers and fathers that take of their children. The writer is asking you too think a little deeper, which is obviously a problem for you.

  • Gell0h0h

    This!!!! ^^^^ “… society that preys on its children with violence and neglect will not be long for this earth.”

  • Fancypants

    I can honetsly say that race NEVER crossed my mind when considering the Newtown tragedy. All I saw where innocent lives lost at the hands of a mad man. This article and articles like it make my stomach hurt. I feel sorry for people who only see things through race-colored glasses…

  • http://gravatar.com/chanela17 chanela17

    i honestly uttered a comment to my boyfriend when i saw that there were worldwide tributes and candle light vigils and leaders from iraq to thailand expressing their condolences. the news article i read wrote” people all across the world are outraged and upset at this incident” i said “of course the whole world is sad. the school was all white” oops : (

    (not to take away from the horrible tragedy. black green or purple it’s sad as hell)

    i also wonder why white men aren’t feared and shown as violent and crazy when they’re the main ones doing things like this.people still trust white men and invite them with open arms while they STILL clutch their purses and lock their car doors when they see a black or hispanic man. usually due to STEREOTYPES. but when you see on the news day in and day out that white men are the main ones to be rapist,pedophiles,and mass murderers people don’t get scared of them at all. smh

  • http://cupofjo-jo.blogspot.com bk chick

    Annd this is why racism today is so insidious….you can’t tell whether or not this story would be the same if this happened with a white killer in an all black school or a black killer at the same school or a black killer at a black school. Would people be so willing to delve in “what could’ve went wrong” with the shooter had he been black? would mental illness even be on the table or would he be called a coon, nigger, thug..etc.? Would this feel as tragic for everyone if only black children were gunned down? THIS is why racism sucks cuz as a black person it is inevitable to question these things, then you feel like shit when you question it because innocent kids were killed. Period. And then you are left to be the bigger person and realize all lives are equal, even though society doesn’t see that your life is worth as much as everyone else’s. Now, I won’t deny, on a case-by-case basis black children’s lives are def not valued as much as white children’s. There was a case of two missing black children, both abducted in the same exact way and, of course, the black story was not reported on. However, how much does this have to do with criminality in the BLACK community, brought on by violence in our OWN members? Does it stop being an issue because it looks like it’s our fault and not sensational? Are black lives, regardless of where we grow up or come from devalued because of the collateral damage of the rampant gang and drug activity in the hood? Are we all painted with the same brush because crime is so prevalent in many of our communities? How do we fix this? Will we ever?

    Now, my gut feeling is that this tragedy is only getting national attention because of the nature of the crime, versus the two other black children that were killed by stray bullets. And this in no way affected, in my mind, how much it sucks that such young lives are lost. But it is tiring being black and seeing that our lives don’t mean that much, while continuing to value everyone else’s life the same.

  • cm

    Wow, couldn’t we talk about the “race issue at another time? Seriously

  • Adrienne s

    I think that the biggest problem we Americans face these days is our self-centered and apathetic culture. It is clear that Ryan Lanza (although most likely mentally ill) did not give one f@*about anyone but himself when he committed these heinous atrocities. I also believe that there are people, like this author, who use these tragedies to further their own agendas and are too caught up in themselves and how they feel to know when to shut up and stop making everything about them.

    A tragedy occurred on Friday, whether the people involved were white, black, Hispanic, Asian or Martians doesn’t matter. What matters is that 26 innocent lives were lost, the majority of which were young children – children too young to be able to protect themselves; children who had to stand and watch as their friends were executed in front of them one at a time; children who were most likely crying out for their parents at the time of their deaths.

    Tell me, author, if one of them had been your child or family member, would you still have written this article 72 HOURS later? If it had been your son or daughter killed by a crazed gunman would you be sitting at home worrying about racial bias in the media? How would you feel if 3 DAYS after your FIRST GRADER died after being shot 11 TIMES someone told you that your tragedy was no more important than any other of the billions of lives lost since the beginning of time?

    And when you were doing your research regarding the 3 minority children in your article killed by gun violence, did you happen to also come across the stories of Craig Allen Loughrey, Cole Tyler Reed or David Young who were all white children between the ages of 4 and 7 critically injured or killed by gun violence in the past 2 months? No? Maybe that’s because none of them made the front page of the newspapers either. Go figure, them being white and all…

    P.S. I’m a Mexican American and I still think you’re an asshole.

  • http://gravatar.com/mimiandy1683 MimiLuvs

    She said “not uncommon” which meant it was common.

  • http://gravatar.com/mimiandy1683 MimiLuvs

    This isn’t her first article, which posed a similar question. She had written another one, a few months ago, when the media spotlight was on Trayvon Martin.

  • Geri

    Drive by or bystander shootings are not the same as a mass shooting in a concentrated place. Yes those shootings that happen everyday do kill children and innocent people more than mass shootings, but this is a whole different matter on an emotional level. The media does not care for one single event of a black girl being shot, but a guy shooting up a daycare center or a school regardless of race brings a lot of attention. These mass shootings usually are done by white men instead of black men within their own communities unless it is racially biased (like the Sikh temple shooting this summer). Mass shootings usually move people a lot more than a single one.

  • SS25

    @Taliah I’m so sorry I glazed over the “not uncommon” part and mimiluvs thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  • http://gravatar.com/nattynay nattynay

    Agree to Disagree:

    As a woman of color there is truth behind why certain stories about children of color don’t get a great amount of media attention.

    As a journalist(part realist) not every shooting in the U.S. will become national news. Most news remains regional leaving citizens in certains areas to only know about it. When it all boils down to: What is more newsworthy? A child being shot across the street from you, or mass shooting at a Conn. Elementary School? Both are very sad, but weighs differently (sad but true). It also becomes very irksome when a tragedy like this occurs people say “If it were a black school it wouldn’t matter,” or vice-versa “If Trayvon Martin were Latin or White it wouldn’t have mattered.”

    We’ve been on this Earth for centuries and race has always (and will probably always)be an issue. Why not mourn and/or remember the children lost in the shooting, or focus on the main issue at hand like potential gun regulations. Apparently something has to be done to keep senseless shooting deaths from occuring, by the hands of those who are unstable.

    From Chicago, Connecticut, Texas to Florida let’s remember every child,parent, or loved-one lost.

  • seriously?

    That’s the problem not enough people care. Oh but they will care if it’s a lot of people one time and they will especially care if it’s children-all life is valuable rather its one or many. If enough people cared and took action against The loose gun laws when it was just the “one” we wouldn’t have to fear for the “many”.
    its unfortunate that something have to be an example for people to “get it” sacrifices has to be made to get everyone heartstrings pulling in order for actions to occur.
    Now everyone wants to talk about gun control? I’m pretty sure something will change because of what happen. Trayvon Martin case wasn’tt enough too…..”racially charge”, the shooting at the movie theatre? Yep yep now were getting better! talks are beginning but ohh it got lost between all the politics and the Running for white house, shame..as sad as it was not enough innocence to keep the momentum strong
    But children? that’ll do it!
    cause see the nation was upset before. Fire up the next time
    But all too lose their voices from the media, but now? Now people are going to make sure that congress keeps on this issue and will never forget what happen.
    I understand we want to look at the issue as simply young lives stolen and not America cares cause it white kids! But until we address all the under lying issue of what it takes for people to care we can never leave such surface issues as this. And simply ignoring it is allowing your subconscious to still keep apathetic attitudes alive.

  • __A

    Thank you ChillyRoad for your comment about tribalism. I hardly ever agree with you, but it’s not that difficult of a concept to understand. White people are ALWAYS going to care more about little blonde haired blue eyed girls because of natural tribalism!

    Honestly, how long will black folks whine about how white people don’t care about black and brown lives? They police their neighborhoods. We need to do better. And why doesn’t BET talk about all the black kids dying from violence? You all are upset that Nancy Grace doesn’t talk about black kids that die.

    This article was in poor taste just like that Aurora theatre shooting article. And please stop being outraged that white America cares more about a massacre where twenty white kids were killed by a crazy gunman than they care about a black kid being killed by gang violence. You all know exactly what they mean when they say this shouldn’t have happened here. It’s an otherwise safe neighborhood. The same cannot be said of most inner city black neighborhoods.

    And there is a big difference in shock value of a gunman going into a school and shooting a bunch of kids versus gang violence. I’d bet my bottom dollar that if a black gunman went into a black neighborhood and shot twenty black kids it would be all over the news too. It’s crazy to say the media wouldn’t care if these kids were black. They’d talk about it over and over. And then people like you would complain that they’re trying to demonize black folks. Didn’t they talk about Trayvon Martin for weeks and weeks? You’re comparing gang violence which is a daily occurrence to a gunman going into a school. They’re not the same thing at all. They’re not. Yes. Death is death, but that’s like comparing the people who died on 9/11 to people dying on a normal plane crash. Don’t you think one story will get way more attention? Isn’t it easy to understand why one story will get more attention?

    And black people really need to understand this tribalism thing. You all love to talk about “people of color” and brown and yellow people. Ugh! These people definitely understand tribalism. Groups care about their own first. White people care about white kids. CNN wants viewers. They know what will get viewers to watch. What is stopping black people from talking about this? I would bet bet money that BET didn’t talk about these girls. How many black sites talked about this? You expect Nancy Grace to talk about little black girls when black people rarely care about these girls. It’s a ratings thing tied to tribalism. They give the viewers what they want. How long are black folks going to whine about the way most human beings work? Do you think it’s evil white folks being racist or do you think it’s human nature? I’m sure Chinese people care more about Chinese kids than Japanese or American kids. Is that wrong? Maybe but that’s how humans are, and you’re living on Fantasy Island if you think other groups of people are ever going to give enough of a crap about black people to fix our neighborhoods. And why should they?

    If there were a mass shooting in a black school, it would be all over the news for days or weeks. If some white kid is killed in a trailer park by some act of trailer trash violence, do you really expect it to make the national news? They showed black folks after Katrina for a long long time didn’t they? They showed black folks in Haiti for a long long time. They talked about Trayvon Martin for a long long time. News stations will talk about ANYTHING that will get viewers to watch. I suppose they don’t talk about inner city gang violence because people expect it. It is not shocking like a hurricane or an earthquake or a massacre. There’s a difference. To pretend like the skin color of the victims is the only difference is dishonest.

    If those children had been Native American, Native Americans would have cared more. If they had been Asian American, Asian Americans would have cared more. And if those kids killed had been black, just about everyone of you commenting here and the author would have cared MORE! So it is never shocking to me that white people care more about white kids. Also, they own the media, so it doesn’t shock me that they would talk about this tragedy nonstop. Is this really shocking to you all? Or are you just complaining that it’s not fair in an ideal fantasy island type of world that we don’t live in? Life isn’t fair. Black Americans should understand that. And we should understand that media representation will never be fair. And WE should talk about our issues and our children and stop expecting things from the mainstream media. It’s 2012. There are plenty of ways for black people to get news out about black people.

  • PJ

    I’ve been reading the comments and see that no one as of yet has identified the real issue. Mainstream America and media don’t take the killings in Chicago as seriously because they believe black and brown people put their own selves in danger — whether that’s wrong or right that is what they believe. The kids in Newtown were not in a dangerous high crime area where gangs are allowed to roam free by the police, which is why there is such an outpouring of grief and shock. People have come to expect this type of senseless killing in high-crime areas of Chicago and other places because the communities have accepted this type of behavior for a long long time “no snitching” and such.

    It has come to the point where the mainstream doesn’t even care about the innocent victims like Heaven and Aliyah anymore, so that prompts the question — WHAT IS THE BLACK COMMUNITY GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

  • PJ

    I have to agree with you on every point. Too many black people don’t even show much concern for their own neighborhoods, so why do they expect non-blacks to show concern that they don’t even show? White people are quick to call the police, police their neighborhoods or band together to stop nonsense from spreading where they live — until black neighborhoods learn how to do the same thing, these random acts of gang/drug violence will continue to happen and not be publicized in any form.

  • Apple

    Umm his name was Adam

  • rae

    The internalized racism from some [presumably] Black commenters is terrifying. Stop blaming tens of millions of Black Americans for the actions of the few, and for the economic and social circumstances resulting from the centuries of discrimination they have faced. Don’t you dare tell “the Black community” to fix itself. By doing so you are erasing the thousands upon thousands of Black folks doing amazing work for our communities. And another thing: there is no such thing as “THE Black Community.” We don’t have some big annual convention. There are many, many Black communities, and the more privileged ones (or those trying to become more privileged) have a tendency to look down on the less privileged ones. As a middle-class African immigrant who has lived in the United States almost my entire life, I have certainly been guilty of blaming Black people for their own misfortune; it’s not right, but it is what we’re taught. A lot of our prejudices for Black folks come from the fact that American history courses omit not only the struggles faced by African slaves, but the century of slavery-like conditions AFTER the emancipation of the slaves, and the comparatively smaller but still damaging discrimination that goes on every day. White America tries to show Black folks as pathological… and we believe and perpetuate these stereotypes!

    No death is more tragic than another. I do not believe the author was trying to say that. When tragic things happen, however, we have a duty to our Black and Brown children – the living and the ones who have been taken away from us by violence – to tell our stories. Race IS important. It is not biological, but it has very real effects on the reporting of violence in our communities.

  • http://gravatar.com/mimiandy1683 MimiLuvs

    You have reminded of the comments from the “Black Men need to do better/Big-Brother Little Brother/Help the community” article that was posted on here, a few months ago.

  • http://gravatar.com/prxtence Salmon

    right because current discourses around gun violence isn’t currently marked by race.. namely white and middle class.

  • Steel

    I was thinking the same thing. Any time a crime is committed against a young white girl, it’s all over the news. But you rarely hear about all the crimes committed against young black girls in the inner city. It’s a double standard. It’s like blacks aren’t real people. Hell, there’s probably violence in the Middle East right now, but all the news stations care about is Sandy Hook. They’re all having an orgy with it, like they always do with these stories. It’s not tragedy. It’s entertainment for them.

  • http://gravatar.com/prxtence Salmon

    Sooo, you want to critique apathy and then casually dismiss his mental illness? Hm. Check yourself. This is the time to discuss disparate access to mental health services and the quality of the services available. This is the time to discuss how coverage of tragedies and what defines a NATIONAL tragedy is marked by race and class biases. The mere publicizing of this event is political, so yeah a political analysis is warranted. It doesn’t make us assholes or insensitive. IT MEANS WE CARE ABOUT CREATING SOLUTIONS THAT ARE APPLICABLE TO ALL COMMUNITIES not just the dominant ones that shape the mainstream legal voice. We do this by NAMING THOSE BIASES. That is how change happens, not by blindly shedding tears.

  • omfg

    i’m a former media person. one of the reasons why this gets coverage is because it’s actually news.

    planes that land are not news. the ones that crash are.


    however, when it comes to blacks killing each other, what’s normal is turned on its head.

    people are used to hearing about blacks and latinos killing one another. it happens all the time. therefore, it’s not news. it’s perceived as a normal part of the community, so eyes glaze over when it’s yet another black person murdered.

    i know, i’ve done crime reporting.

    i don’t know why black people continue to expect others to value our lives.

    but, i do believe that a mass shooting at a black school would get attention because that’s not normal, even in high crime black communities.

  • EST. 1986

    Martians aren’t real, and if they were, I don’t think humans would care if something tragic happened to them.

  • Lulu

    “but, i do believe that a mass shooting at a black school would get attention because that’s not normal, even in high crime black communities.”

    I agree but even if it happened at an elementary school similar to sandy hope (good school, low crime,quiet neighborhood and community..etc) but the majority of the kids were black or some other minority, the coverage would be ALOT less and there would also be ALOT less sympathy. It would be forgotten quickly too.

    I’ve noticed over and over how the media has completely forgotten the shooting at the Sikh temple earlier this year when citing past examples of mass shootings in public spaces.

    Anyway after this event, all I can think of is how many innocent children around the world are murdered and killed one way or another in some way by the hands of people that cannot fight against. All I can think of is how we humans can be the epitome of evil and after thousands and thousands of years of existence, this evil persists within us.

  • BoutDatLove

    Gun control will become the issue & it is a topic of propaganda. (I’m going to be a little off topic)

    You know what I find ironic, is that whites had/have no problem when they gave black people (in Africa) guns to kill their own black people. They also had/have no problem when black people here in america and other countries are killing each other via guns (that they, the government supply). Where were/are the gun control laws then?

    White people wanted guns to protect themselves and even made laws against black people having guns, after slavery because they were afraid of us. They plan on putting laws on guns to make sure that when things go down, that we are without ”protection.” So, why don’t we see this as a way to stand together to protect each other, rather than abusing the gun to kill each other. And whining about white people not paying attention to us or loving us enough to care about our life?

    Just like when Hurricane Katrina happened (God bless the victims & the ones who still suffer) there were American soldiers & racist whites killing black people via guns. So when they formulate these tragedy’s they always make it about the ”evil gun,” because no one cares if black people & children are being gunned down on a daily, but when it affects whites, that is when there is an outrage, because these guns weren’t created to kill whites, but blacks. And stories like this is what makes a perfect time to implement these gun control laws, when these ”non planned” tragedies happen.

    They want us to have more compassion on the killings of their people, while they destroy and kill people all over the world?

    When I first saw the newton shooting on the news everything was centered around Emilie Alice Parker. Everyone is saying these were innocent kids etc but I’m sorry if I come across as insensitive, but I felt something totally different when I saw her face. Not that this justify’s anything, but nothing really seemed right.

    Lastly, the whole Newton situation is a lie & it doesn’t add up, look into it. The news station once said that the mother purchased the guns before the shooting happened, then the story was changed to the ”shooter” illegally purchased the guns. He killed 26 people in 2 minutes though? According to the police radio this is so and on the radio it also stated that there were 2 shooters present at the school that day. One little girl said that she didn’t even hear any shots being fired.

    I mean look at the aurora shooting, it was all lies too. The guy on trial isn’t even the same guy that they had arrested.

    It amazes me how tactics such as these shootings can be used to make people afraid, while at the same time, people feel the need to give up their guns? It doesn’t even correlate to me at all. I feel like if anything, you would want a gun for protection. Maybe they’ll up the security (law enforcement and military etc) in place of guns. You best believe they will make sure that they have guns to control and make you afraid, (since they are already doing it now) while you can’t resist because you won’t have a gun.


  • Tara

    I thought the same thing. I am sure that every black church in America was praying about andd preaching about this tragedy.

  • Heywood

    What the hell are you talking about stupid? I seem to recall WALL TO WALL 24/7 coverage when some ‘poor black boy’ was shot by a white man in Florida. Don’t be getting all butt hurt because you’re not getting all the attention today.

    Geez, blacks are so predictable. Guess what, when a black kid shoots a dozen other black kids, nobody cares. Do you know why? Because they do it EVERYDAY. Every news broadcast would have to be 72 hours long and each story 1/2 of 1 second long just to cover one day of black crime.

  • Mademoiselle

    Sheesh! I’m admittedly taken aback by this article. No matter how I read it, it comes off as us competing for whose tragedy is worse. Do we really need to use this horrific event as to hypothesis about what might be the treatment if it happened in the black community? Really?

    If we’re so pent up on racializing this, how about we use this event to THANK GOD (or whatever you want to credit) that we don’t have to add 3 mass murders in one year to the long list of the black community’s plagues? How about we THANK GOD (or whatever you want to credit) that these lunatics didn’t specifically target the black community to unleash their evil upon? How about we THANK GOD (or whatever you want to credit) that the black community isn’t charged with burying 26 of its own IN ONE WEEK?

    And if that’s too much to ask, how about we — at the very least — wait until these 26 victims have all had a chance to be properly buried before using their deaths to further the black agenda.

    “There will never be an appropriate time to say that this nation only stands at attention when the majority of victims are white Americans, as was the case at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut, so I might as well say it today.” There absolutely has to be a more appropriate time than 3 days after the event, and before the casket has barely even shut on the first 2 kids that were buried.

  • Michal

    I really do not believe that race is an issue in the coverage of this case. I believe that the fact the 20 six year olds were literally shot execution style, not to mention that each of them had no less than 3 bullets in them. The coverage would’ve been the same if they were white, black, yellow or purple. It’s the fact that it was a mass murder of children. The race card doesn’t need to be pulled in this one.

  • http://www.highyellow.wordpress.com CeeFu

    i would respectfully disagree. If the numbers are accurate in the story, the author states that its the UNPRECEDENTED NUMBER of children dying in drive-bys in places like Chicago that actually make it not normal, even for communities known for violence, and that is news, but it’s not been covered nationally. That news that has been floating around various internet circles, through blogs and smaller news-related sites that focus on people of color, but has not made it to the national level. It’s hard to argue that race does not have ANYTHING to do with it. Mainstream media drops the ball on news all the time following the model of “what’s news.” There was a time when news reporting was more than deciding for people beforehand what was going to be important/valued for them and going with the stories that produce revenue. We don’t do investigative journalism nearly at the rate as we used to. You never got that kind of coverage on your nightly news on in your daily paper, but in places that allowed a fuller consideration of complex stories, coverage that brings those stories home, and that hasn’t been done for the children of color dying in the streets.

  • HoneyJuneB

    Maybe, just maybe, one day when we stop making it about race, perhaps others will too. While it’s important to have conversations about any injustices we feel, it’s also time for us to start taking action. Complaining without solutions are just that — complaints.

    Provide solutions, create groups, start media companies etc. that report issues important to us without the white/black slant ALWAYS given to it. If people don’t care about what you and I feel they should care about, then DO something about it other than complaining.

    We act like the media is the God of all coverage and communication. Now more than ever we have access to CREATING things like blogs, websites, TV shows via YouTube and sooooo much more.

    Creativity is so lost these days on all of us simply because we expect someone else to care about what we care about. Time for us to be creative visionaries who bond together and take ACTION in manifesting our global desires for the kind of world we all want to see. Sheesh.

  • Muse

    I’m sorry (not really) but the more I read this article, the more I’m disgusted by it. How dare you diminish the lives of the victims and their families grief by literally trying to one up such a tragedy with race. Don’t you realize 20 BABIES were slaughtered in ONE DAY and in ONE COMMUNITY??? Don’t you realize that they probably didn’t even fully grasp the concept of race at 6 and 7 years old? Hell, most didn’t even realize what was going on when their lives were so savagely and INTENTIONALLY taken. For you to trivialize their deaths by playing the race card, 2 days after their deaths, is just plain disgusting. Shame on you, Kirsten.

    It’s heartbreaking whenever a child of any race violently dies but when one community and one school loses 26 people (20 being children) in one day, please don’t be surprised at the amount of media coverage it receives.

  • http://gravatar.com/prxtence Salmon

    No, seriously. The issue at hand is gun violence. Who do you think the conversation is going to be around when pushing for gun control? Whose lives are worth protecting? We’ll talk about Columbine, the Santana High School Shooting, Connecticut. No one will talk about gun violence in communities of color. It’s just not compelling enough to pressure lobbyist to push for gun control measures.

    Disagree with me now, but when gun control is enforced in white, middle class neighborhoods and leave it completely unenforced in neighborhoods of color, shit pat yourself on the back because your complacency helped shaped the sociopolitical climate that allows for it. I’m sorry but community violence is a little more complex then “young black men taking responsibility for their lives.”

  • LadyP

    This is a great article. The truth should be told and I believe this article is stating the thoughts of many. Very well done! As I thought about those 20 babies being slaughter, I didn’t “initially” think about their race or socio-economic status. As many (parent and non-parents), my heart is grieving for the 20 lives gone too soon. Parents losing their children, grief doesn’t have a particular race attached to it. Regardless of the different scenarios, all these parents are hurting. It is the thought of babies – a few years fresh out the womb – (in a classroom) being killed within a malicious manner that is the difference. Nothing but pure evil has arisen once again. Now, it is clear gun control is needed.

    While the nature of [this] crime will make a difference pertaining to gun control, I’m still not sold that it would have if occurred within an urban community. If so, change would have been taken place. Enough of killings have already occurred in our neighborhoods. It doesn’t matter if the parents were hurting or if the crime was just as detrimental, by society we are considered as victims of our own choices. As a result, the situation is considered as a “community” problem rather than a “nationwide” problem. Other issues that are apparent within our communities would take precedence over gun control. Within our communities, if we don’t take care of the obvious problems of unemployment, one-parent homes, kids raising themselves, gang affiliations, glamorizing gun culture, and anger issues, I think the government will continue to observe our calamity as communal indictments. Mental issues aren’t a primary concern. The nation is just not going to be quick to stop when our babies are taken too soon. It’s sad, but I think the nation consider those calamities as our problem. It’s a part of our “thug” culture, black angry men and unstable women as a result of our apparent issues.

    I also believe if this same tragedy occurred at a low-income school, it would have escalated additional problems for that particular school and school district. The focus would have been placed on the many problems the school and what is the district doing about it; not so much on nationwide gun control.

    While we do have issues to take care of in our community; I don’t foresee America intervening on our behalf. I’m not seeking to make these senseless massacres into a race issue. But with all of the killings in major urban cities, I cannot help but wonder where is the nationwide concern for our babies’ lost lives and grieving parents? No parent, don’t want their kids slaughter in or outside the classrooms, but we have to own up to the truth that in America; there is a difference when comes to racial calamity.

  • omfg


    i don’t necessarily disagree that there would be less sympathy for black children. but, that also goes back to my point. black life is devalued. one of the reasons it continues to be devalued is because we devalue it. and it has become normal for us to do so.

    again, crazy violence has been going on in black neighborhoods for decades now. it has become the norm. a black boy/man is more likely to die at the hands of another black man/boy. and homicide continues to be the number one killer of those from 15-24. it is a top killer for adolescent boys as well. it has been the case for years.

    ultimately, it is for black people to make a murder of another black person an aberration.

    and the sikhs seemed to barely want any publicity. they, like many asians, want to fly under the radar and cause as few ripples as possible. they are not trying to bring anymore attention to themselves than necessary.

  • GlowBelle

    I have to echo the sentiments of others and say that this article while not devoid of truth, comes off as tactless especially days after the Sandy Hook tragedy. I truly understand that the media does favor whites when it comes to reportage of killings/crimes, but I don’t take much offense to that or wish them to cover every single crime committed in the black and brown communities, because a) I expect it and b) there is the Internet now. The Internet has made it possible to have sites (including this one) who fill in when the mainstream media doesn’t/can’t. As someone who is in journalism, you can only report so much that goes on in a day, and it’s just impossible to cover every major crime out there esp. crime that just is just “same shit/different day/still not resolved” tragedies, the Internet alleviates that, filling in the gaps.

    Now the Sandy Hook tragedy is world news worthy because of the crime itself. Those children and the educators were executed, and in mass and it was pretty hella random, just like Aurora and Virginia Tech, and I’m sorry, but those kinds of killings effect EVERYONE, black, white, brown, whatever. Still it sickens me that here we are sitting here trying to MEASURE tragedy on a scale of which one is worse and which one isn’t. No tragedy is “bigger” or “more newsworthy” and whining “what about us?” just seems real insensitive to act like what happened in Newtown was less tragic. I bet if a Black man stormed into an elementary school showering bullets killing kids it would make the news 24/7. True I agree that the media makes people of color who possess guns are animals while whites are seen as “misguided whiz kids” with mental issues, but lets just think about how the Black media sided with football player Belcher a few weeks ago naming him as “a good person with anger issues” totally treating his girlfriend like she deserved be shot nine times, and barely mentioning her in the conversation even glossing over the obvious domestic violence act (I even recall Clutch doing a hatchet job with handling of that tragedy…) So yes, WE do that sugar coating crap too, esp. when it’s our own (like someone stated above, ‘tribalism’ is real). We should be taking responsibility for the crimes in black and brown communities, not asking the white media and even President Obama for hand-outs. I mean, let’s put the anger not into lopsided articles, but think of ways to help our communities from gangs who persist, mental illness that we brush under the rug and wish white folk will acknowledge, domestic violence and child abuse that occurs in the homes. Maybe Clutch should think of doing an off-shoot site that just deals with crimes committed in our communities to bring further awareness. If nobody else is going to do it, then sometimes you have to do it yourself and not wait around for someone to do it for you.

    I just can’t sit here and pull out a race card with this because I have empathy for tragedies like this, no matter who was the victim simply because the conversations about prevention of mass killings, gun violence, and mental illness affect EVERYONE. What if that had been your child getting executed like that? You’d be pissed and hurt if someone wrote this kind of article trying to match your tragedy with theirs, claiming theirs is more important. This isn’t a competition. Newtown was an AMERICAN tragedy, these drive-bys in Chicago are AMERICAN tragedies, and as an American I morn for them ALL. Don’t tell me or make me feel guilty over which crime I should “pick” to give more empathy to and make the other the lesser of two evils.

  • http://Cllutchmagazineonline Debra Wells

    The issue discussed in this article was told to me, as a child, many years ago growing up in Newark, N.J., by my mother, in very simplistic terms. It is a shame that it is still true today. No one cared when I, as a child, had to step over drugged out junkies, lying on the front doorstep to the building in which I lived. Now, look where the drug problem is in America. The powers that be did not care when the problems were thought to be “in the ghetto”, so now they have a really big national scale issue.

  • Miss Em

    This op-ed is shockingly short-sighted and very much out of context. You’re comparing systemic violence with unintended case-by-case victims to a pre-meditated massacre and decide to weave race into the narrative as if it’s causal? Seriously? It’s almost as appalling as the incidence of gun violence that has become the norm in Chicago and the very different brand of horror that was visited on Newtown, CT.

  • Naxo V.

    I was completely with you until you threw in the “I’m a Mexican American” part. :/ Didn’t we just get finished saying race/ethnicity doesn’t matter? So what gives your race/ethinicity any more merit than anyone else?

  • Secret Sauce

    Jesse Jackson has gone after gun manufacturers and gun dealers in Illinois in the past. Rush is also wrong about the fact gun violence doesn’t get reported in Chicago. It gets reported all the time locally. Hell, I’ve written extensively about it. CNN has pages and pages of stories on its website dating back to 2009 highlighting Chicago violence. Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper even conducted hour-long one-hour specials and roundtable discussions about it. Shoot, Mayor Emanuel even appeared on Meet the Press this September to discuss gun violence in the city. What I will agree with Rush about you don’t hear gun control arguments being made nationally when hordes of blacks are murdered in the streets. But to say gun violence in black neighborhoods has gone unreported is very misguided. If it did go unreported, then nobody would even reference Chicago or other cities where gun violence is prominent.

  • Secret Sauce

    Jesse Jackson has gone after gun manufacturers and gun dealers in Illinois in the past. Rush is also wrong about the fact gun violence doesn’t get reported in Chicago. It gets reported all the time locally. Hell, I’ve written extensively about it. CNN has pages and pages of stories on its website dating back to 2009 highlighting Chicago violence. Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper even conducted hour-long one-hour specials and roundtable discussions about it. Shoot, Mayor Emanuel even appeared on Meet the Press this September to discuss gun violence in the city. What I will agree with Rush about you don’t hear gun control arguments being made nationally when hordes of blacks are murdered in the streets. But to say gun violence in black neighborhoods has gone unreported is very misguided.If it went unreported, then nobody would mention Chicago or other cities where violence plagues black hoods.

  • Telling It Like It Is

    Something else for all who have commented to consider is the literal politics of this. There is power in numbers and blacks, historically, have not been at all involved in politics, en masse, since the 1960s. Whether your senate and congressional representatives are black or white, blacks, as an aggregate, don’t ban together and DEMAND change in their neighborhoods, cities, the way whites do. I know blacks, and the clergy, marched last summer, in the streets, after all of those shootings, but that’s NOT going to move politicians to do anything. I agree with a lot of what’s been said and underlying all of this is the issue of race and who is and is NOT valued in this country. But unlike whites, blacks do not utilize their strength in numbers in this country when it comes to policy and political capital in the same way as whites do. It’s a fact. And, part of it has to do with the long and complicated history of the races dating back to slavery.

  • cupcakes and shiraz

    Even with all the crime in Chicago, you don’t hear stories of 20 children being intentionally executed at one time. This is why the Sandy Hook story is getting more press. The media attention has nothing to do with race (this time) and I disagree with the author of this post for making it such.

  • cupcakes and shiraz

    That boy wasn’t mentally ill. He was a pissed off brat with an entitlement complex and wanted to take the world out when he didn’t get it.

    Anyone who’d shoot little children like that is just straight up evil at its finest. I wish people would stop making angry little white boys with guns the poster children of mental illness.

  • cupcakes and shiraz

    This. If people were that concerned about the violence in Chicago, they’d do far more than complain about it on a blog.

  • Sam Anderson

    I think of how frightened these children must have been before they were slaughtered. I think of the ones who tried to escape. I think of them lying where they took their last breath as their parents searched for them outside. I think of this phrase shared and passed around over the last few days: “Children! Welcome! Come, Come! My, you’re so beautiful, you must have been so afraid…well, never again. You are with me now. Come, I have so much to show you.”

    And you take pen to paper and suggest that these little souls are privileged, even in death, because they are receiving, what you perceive to be, more media attention than what brown/black children would have received in a similar event that has not taken place (fortunately). My, my – what is happening to humanity.

  • Zoe

    While I won’t make a call on whether or not he was mentally ill, I will piggy back off cupcake and shiraz’s last sentence. Not to take away from the main point of the article, but I have to ask why hardly anyone cites rampant mental illness for violence in urban, (often minority-populated) areas? If anything, the perpetrators in those sorts of cases would be more likely to have an unchecked mental illness due to the lack of healthcare access.

  • http://twitter.com/sjm752003 Stephanie M. (@sjm752003)

    Exactly what is the black agenda?

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  • http://www.thethievestheme.com dj books

    This article articulates my exact thoughts thank you….

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  • Diana

    *Standing ovation*. I read this article in disbelief this is one tragedy where race needs to be left out of it. Thanks for your comment.

  • http://addassamari.edublogs.org/ Gail

    I agree wholeheartedly. It is pass time for action and not reaction. Thank you for making such an eloquent point.

  • Lauren

    All of this! I’m glad somebody said it.

  • http://www.marktraina.webs.com MARK TRAINA

    America is at WAR and the BLACK COMMUNITIES are being BOMBBARDED every single day by a disorganized group of Young Black Thugs. Hedonistic Young Black Thugs that are Terrorizing Everyone and Everything! All the White People have moved away and now these useless Black Thugs are Preying upon one another, as well as, the Poor Black People who don’t have the financial means to move away. They are trapped in these blighted and bankrupted communities and so are their innocent Children!


  • http://gravatar.com/ravsmith78 Ravi

    “You know what I’ve noticed? Nobody panics when things go “according to plan.” Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it’s all “part of the plan.” But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!”

  • Dawn

    I was visiting Chicago with my son when the deaths of these girls occurred. I believe 4 or 5 children were killed due to gun violence within a short span of time mid summer, including a child that I had just had dinner with a week before his untimely death. I was shocked at the news of his death and even more disgusted by the lack of outrage or what seemed like a kind of collective acceptance as the sign of the times. Drugs, gangs and gun violence seem to be the norm and citizens were (and still is) feeling helpless while complaining about inadequate policing. I understand it because I grew up there but for the first time, I wanted to leave home and get my son out of there. May the deaths of those little angels in Newtown inspire change that the deaths of our babies gunned down on the streets of Chicago could not.

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