If you’re black and grew up even hood adjacent, no doubt you’ve listened to older black folk rant about how the youngsters are simply cowards these days as they’d pick up a gun than face a fair fight.
Who could forget the classic scene in F. Gary Gray’s Friday when Mr. Jones (John Witherspoon) confronts his son Craig (Ice Cube) after catching him with a gun?
Mr. Jones: “What’s that for?”
Craig Jones: “Protection.”
Mr. Jones: “Protection from who?”
Craig Jones: “Me and Smoke… I’ve got to walk Smokey down to his house.”
Mr. Jones: “Aw, man. Your mother and I never would’ve moved to this neighborhood if we’d known you need a gun to walk down the damn street.”
Craig Jones: “You know how it is ’round here.”
Mr. Jones: “Oh, no, son. That’s not the way it is. You kids have been nothin’ but punks. Sissified. So quick to pick up a gun. Too scared to take an ass-whipping.”
Using the logic of our elders and applying it to recent incidents such as the shooting of black man, Markeis McGlockton by white man, Michael Drejka over a parking spot dispute, or even the 2012 altercation between black teen, Trayvon Martin and wannabe neighborhood vigilante, George Zimmerman (who’s at least white adjacent), one may conclude that white people, and specifically white gun enthusiasts, are a bunch of bitch-ass niggas.
I find it interesting that, for all white people’s deflective griping about “black on black crime”, with a gun in their hands, many of them appear to handle themselves in the same fashion that tends to escalate into a “black on black crime”,scenario.
At its core, what happened between Drejka and McGlockton in that convenience store parking lot was what Aaron McGruter’s The Boondocks referred to as a “nigga moment.” Imagine if it had been two black men in a shouting match over a parking spot when suddenly one pushes the other to the ground and the second guy immediately pulls a gun and starts blasting away. I can only speculate on whether or not “Stand Your Ground” would’ve protected a black shooter the same way (I have to mention that it’s speculative because lord knows when it comes to the subject of legal systems being prejudiced against black people, for white people, “denial” ain’t just a river in the country of Africa), but I can say with confidence that the same kind of confrontation turned deadly would be perceived by the (white) world as more thuggery and violence that, in their minds, proves that black lives don’t matter so much to black people.
But Michael Drejka is a white man who the average gun-toting American can see themselves in, so the most concession you’ll get from many white people is that “both men did wrong.” Which is arguably true. You may argue that Markeis McGlockton was wrong for marching over to the white man who was antagonizing his wife mere feet away from his children, and pushing his bitch ass, punk ass, sucka-duck snowflake ass to the pavement. Maybe he acted a bit unnecessary. But his “mistake” left a man with no serious injuries and, in fact, not much at all hurt save his pride. Meanwhile, Michael Drejka’s “mistake” – his err in judgment – robbed a man of his life, a wife of her husband and children of their father… but sure, let’s wag our fingers at the two indiscriminately and then sing “Kumbaya” and “Give Peace a Chance” as and shit.
This is why it remains important that, as these incidents are reported, the races of those involved is mentioned. White folks are always asking, “Why does the headline have to read ‘White man shoots black man?’ Why can’t they just be men?” Well, the reason is, due to implicit bias (that’s educated talk for “racist ass whypipo”) the race of those involved determines how readers interact with the story.
This is why when it’s some World Star video of a bunch of black youths beating the shit out of each other, you won’t find an orchestra of white people in the comment section sounding off a cacophony of, “Waaaait a minute, what happened before the camera started rolling? Do we know that ghetto black kid number one wasn’t completely justified in busting ghetto black kid number two’s head to the white meat?”
It’s why no one asks about the possible mental issues and troubled upbringings of the gang bangers shooting it out with each other the way they do when Billy Trench-Coat grabs an AR-15 and goes all Call of Duty on the student body of his high school.
Again, I look back to Zimmerman and Trayvon and, again, I wonder how white people would’ve responded to the story had it been some black, self-appointed hood savior and skreetz watcher who stalked, chased and then confronted a young teen then pulled a gun and started shooting once the young teen started whooping his big bitch-ass and killed him. I wonder if half of America would’ve bought his “I feared for my life” story. I wonder if the police who came to the scene would’ve accepted his self defense claim at face value. How many would’ve immediately written him off as a garden variety “thug” who needed to be under the jail where his kind belong?
And when I say, “I wonder…” what I really mean is I don’t have to wonder jack shit because I know for a fact that prisons are packed with black men who pulled a gun out of fear and left someone unjustly dead. And I know there are white cops and civilians walking the streets with little more than a slap on the wrist for doing the same. I know that Trayvon Martin didn’t need an arrest record for white America to believe he was a rabid animal who deserved what he got while George Zimmerman has had at least a half dozen clashes with the law since the murder including, but not limited to, domestic violence and stalking and people will still swear on their children that he was the victim that night. I know that we all watched Markeis McGlockton attempt to walk away after pushing Michael Drejka, so there’s no arguing that the shooter was in anything even resembling imminent danger, and yet, he walks free.