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The World Cries for Newtown’s Children, but Few of Us Think About Dead Brown Babies

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by Dr. Boyce Watkins

Yesterday, I did a short interview with WHUR radio in Washington, DC.  The topic was how race might or might not have played a role in the way the public viewed the recent killings in Newtown, Connecticut. These conversations always seem to be sad distractions in the midst of serious tragedies, and to be honest, I hate them.  But while I do not enjoy discussing race in the middle of such a traumatic set of events, I see these “undercard conversations” to be a necessary evil in a nation that continues to live in serious denial.

When it came to race and whether or not the nation paid more attention to the kids in Connecticut than they would have otherwise, my statement was quite simple:

“People believe that little white kids in the suburbs have the right to live.  They have the right to be happy.  They have the right to peace.  When it comes to black babies in urban neighborhoods, people don’t believe these children deserve to have similar rights.  When people say things like ‘I can’t believe this would happen here,’ they are effectively saying that there are some neighborhoods where these tragic outcomes are far more acceptable.  I reject this notion entirely, and it is reflective of both white supremacy and classism.”

If those babies in Newtown had been black babies on the south side of Chicago, there would be few tears, especially in the White House. To put it in ratios, 20 black children would have to die before they receive the sympathy that would be given to one white child. But when one considers how many hundreds of black kids have been murdered in cold blood since we got our first black president, even the 10-to-1 ratio appears to be somewhat optimistic.  We could tell one tragic story after another to nearly every Democratic politician in the country, and these words would inspire very little action – if you’ll recall, even our beloved president came to Chicago for the wedding of Valerie Jarrett’s Harvard-educated daughter and didn’t say a word about the scores of children who’d been killed right down the street.

I was hurt by what happened in Connecticut, as was the rest of the nation.  But what continues to  keep me offended is the fact that a white child has to be harmed by a gun before our legislators believe that gun control should be made into a priority.  Anyone who wonders why so many African Americans don’t feel fully invested in the American melting pot should realize that the lack of black interest in the Great American Partnership largely exists because we continue to have our needs and issues subjugated to the whims of those who are in power.

Black people pay taxes too, and it’s patently unfair that our tax money is consistently used to solve problems for people who live in other communities.  We learned 200 years ago that taxation without representation is an unacceptable violation of civil liberties.  We should not have to wait for a black problem to become a white one before our elected officials do something about it.  Our children matter too:  When you beg for black votes, then you should be prepared to help solve black problems.  When a relationship lacks reciprocity, it is both unethical and worthless.

The bottom line is this:  All children have the right to life, happiness and peace, no matter where they were born.  The fact that it takes an atrocity of this magnitude to help us realize this fundamental fact is a testament to just how warped our society has become.  Sure, the Sandy Hook Massacre was a wake up call for the nation, but some have chosen to keep their eyes closed longer than others.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University and author of the book, “Black American Money.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

66 Responses to The World Cries for Newtown’s Children, but Few of Us Think About Dead Brown Babies

  1. BlackSupaman

    January 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    JAY….. I agree with your statement. White kids being killed or cops killed in the line of duty are no more important than the lives of anybody else. Mentally dead Black people act like the lives these people are more precious than their own. Wake up Black people. Black race and culture should be above all others. Self preservatioin should be the number 1 rule.

  2. BlackSupaman

    January 20, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    When I heard about the 20 whites kids gunned down by one of their own I reacted in the same way that most white people react when they hear about a Blackman or Blackwoman being murdered. I wasn’t mad or sad about it.

  3. BlackSupaman

    January 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    When I heard about the 20 whites kids gunned down by one of their own I reacted in the same way that most white people react when they hear about a Blackman or Blackwoman being murdered. I wasn’t mad or sad about it. Didn’t phase me one bit. Nor was I surprised about the incident or about the color of the perpetrator. All I care about is Black liberation of our Black minds and Black Unity.

  4. Jl

    January 20, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Black on Black crime is PURE entertainment! This is why the family are broke up, high divorce rate, and jail employment . It’s left up to US to make a CHANGE.

  5. Truthbeliever

    January 17, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Thank you, Ms. Husar, Olamina, and Mr. Briscoe for your insight and wisdom. May God bless and keep you. I am not surprised that Mr. Watkins again took another misfortunate incident and used it to draw attention to his personal grievances with President Obama. Whether you like the President or not, not everything is a direct reflection of his ability to govern.

  6. Shirley Husar

    January 5, 2013 at 6:45 am

    People who believe that humans are perfectly changeable and can be made good with a shove here and a law there will never understand events like the Newtown massacre. They’ll always look for a regulation or a law that will stop events like that from happening, and will always be baffled when they happen again.
    People with a religious understanding of humanity know to their sorrow that humans are capable of true depravity. Newtown, Aurora and Columbine were the work of depraved minds, minds without faith, without compassion, and without God. They were the work of minds divided by illness and sin – Raskolnikovs who put themselves above humanity and above divine limits. Indeed, it was James who explained to us how a person could have the potential to gun down thirty people when he informed us that, “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8).”
    Laws can govern, but they cannot control. Laws can imperfectly hold evil at bay, but they cannot prevent evil from striking, and they cannot make us good. When the mind has lost stability, when thoughts of hate and pain and harm enter one’s mind, no law can control that.
    There is already much talk about gun control, as there inevitably is after a high profile shooting. Yet speaking of gun control because of sick and evil savages smacks of debating the virtues of car control because of alcoholics who drink and drive. The laws are only as good as the persons that are governed by them. As long as there are individuals who either cannot or will not be stable in their minds, events like this will occur, a tragedy for us all.

    Read more: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/urban-game-changer/2012/dec/16/newtown-and-human-depravity-nation-s-forgotten-god/#ixzz2H6IiFlKz
    Follow us: @wtcommunities on Twitter

  7. The One True Dave

    December 26, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Before we say that any mass killing of school children would draw the same attention even if the kids weren’t white, we should all look up the Cleveland School Massacre. Almost all of the nearly 30 children who were shot were refugees from Cambodia and Vietnam, but how many of us even remember that it happened?

    • Lots Of Love

      December 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      The One True Dave the Cleveland School massacre took place in 1989. I don’t remember it happening it all, then again in 1989 I was a child myself. This man took the lives of 5 children of southeast Asian descent. The gunman hated Asians so he set out to “get them”. There were 30 children and a teacher injured but not murdered. Young children were murdered that day and ranged in ages from 6-9 years old. This was a hate crime not a random school shooting a very young children. I see Newtown as a different massacre, these can’t be compared other than they happened at elementary schools where children were murdered. 5 children at once was horrible enough, 20 children at once is almost unbearable for the human psyche to handle. I watched veteran news anchors nearly get emotional just reporting Sandy Hook Massacre. All events where parents have to bury their children at the hand of the demon violence is beyond tragic.

  8. Onesilverbac

    December 23, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Yes it happens in our community about everyday, what do we do about it, nothing other than say that’s a shame. I suspect not to many deranged people are doing the killings it’s the thugs in the streets, its the gang banger, the punks.

    We say they’re just kids themselves. The community needs to do what they need to do in order to take control of the community. Cowards!

  9. Onesilverbac

    December 23, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Yes it happens in our community about everyday, what do we do about it, nothing other than say that’s a shame. I suspect not to many deranged people are doing the killings it’s the thugs in the streets, its the gang banger, the punks.

    We say they’re just kids themselves. The community needs to do what they need to do in order to take control of the community. Cowards!

  10. Taritaritari5

    December 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    We must learn to forgive, move on and work on making this world a better place to live.

    Yes, racism exists but we should not aim to where the same shoes or walk in them.

    It is a lot of work to undo many wrongs, don’t bask in more negativity. They need help too, the racists (black and white etc.)to overcome their obstacles.

    Stop pinpointing the president and make your own moves and sacrifices to uproot our sinking issues.

    Our children are doing what was done in the past by adults only!

  11. Jay

    December 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I agree with the author. What is the difference if 20 Black children are killed over 20 weeks or 20 White children are killed in a few minutes? The media circus is the difference and so is skin color. White children are the most protected children on the planet and just because 20 were killed in minutes doesn’t make them more important than 20 Blacks killed in 20 weeks. If there were 20 Black children killed similarly, yes, it would get National. media,and political attention. But if you compared the 2 big pictures of murder in these populations you will see nuances of differences in coverage and intensity of attention If one is too naive to believe that racism is not alive and well in the media and in the hearts of many, one needs to wake up.

  12. grannyb

    December 21, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Sorry to say, but yes I agree. Black children have been victims of violence for years, yet no voices have been heard in such magnitude but Black people. I voted for prez obama, but I never saw one tear shed for black babies. I believe stricter gun control is required, along with more help for the mentally ill and harsjer sentences for selling illegally obtained weapons or committing a crime with one. Background checks seem to be lax and military weapons and armour should be banned from public sale. Sorry to see this tragedy, but sorrier to see the news media and the nation close their eyes when the color is different.

  13. grannyb

    December 21, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Sorry to say, but yes I agree. Black children have been victims of violence for years, yet no voices have been heard in such magnitude but Black people. I voted for prez obama, but I never saw one tear shed for black babies. I believe stricter gun control is required, along with more help for the mentally ill and harsjer sentences for selling illegally obtained weapons or committing a crime with one. Background checks seem to be lax and military weapons and armour should be banned from public sale. Sorry to see this tragedy, but sorrier to see the news media and the nation close their eyes when the color is different.

  14. Addae Olamina

    December 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Anytime a tragedy of this magnitude happens (20 children killed in one place at the same time) it will garner massive attention and calls for action. Similarly, there are thousands of car accidents a day with little media attention, yet when there is a 50 car pile-up and numerous fatalities it’s the national news lead.

    Are any of you so cynical as to believe that if a gunman killed 20 six and seven year old black kids in a school in Chicago that the President and the media would not react as they have with the Newtown tragedy?

    The cynicism of the black educated class is often a tremendous impediment to serious analytical thought.

  15. Kevin M. Briscoe

    December 21, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    I tend to find that nearly every topic examined by Dr. Watkins is viewed–often without merit–through racial lenses. His rhetoric is often unnecessarily imflammatory. Kids–regardless of race–do not deserved to be slaughtered; gunned down by a seemingly sick individual! That is the simple fact. To racialize a national tragedy is unseemly and downright stupid.