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What is Happening to Black Men?

Dr. Eugene Stovall

Oakland, California

February 19, 2014

Whatever is happening, there seems to be no political will, no interest, no ability to do anything about it. Has the killing of innocent non-white peoples around the world in the tens and hundreds made black people less concerned about the killings of black men singly and alone?

In February 2012, George Zimmerman stalked and murdered Trayvon Martin. But despite the fact that there is a “black” president, a “black” attorney general and a congressional black caucus, Trayvon Martin’s murder in Sanford, Florida, was never satisfactorily resolved. Instead the murder of the black teen ushered in an increased level of violence against black men.

The facts …

November 23, 2012, A young black teenager, Jordan Davis was murdered by Michael Dunn, a white man with a history of violence. When Michael Dunn pulled into a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida, he complained to the black teenagers in a red SUV that their music was too loud. The teenagers paid no attention to the white man, so he pulled out a gun and fired several times into the teenagers’ car, killing Jordan Davis. The jury found Michael Dunn guilty on four charges, including three for attempted second-degree murder, but they couldn't reach a verdict on the most significant charge -- first-degree murder in the death of Jordan Davis.

January 1, 2013 - Oscar Grant a young black father was handcuffed by a BART policeman in Oakland’s Fruitvale BART station for participating in some pushing and shoving on a BART train. Grant and his friends were returning to Oakland after celebrating in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve. After manacling Oscar Grant’s hands behind his back and around a pole, the white policeman pulled out his gun and shot the twenty-year old black man. Oscar Grant died at Highland Hospital in Oakland two hours later.

January 11, 2013 -, When Kendrick Johnson's body was found in the Lowndes High School gymnasium in a rolled up wrestling mat, his parents, Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson believed that Kendrick, 17, had been murdered. The officials in Valdosta, Georgia, who investigated the black teen’s unusual death, concluded that Kendrick Jonson’s death was accidental. Unwilling to accept the official findings, Kendrick Johnson's family hired a private pathologist, who conducted an autopsy on behalf of the family. The pathologist concluded that Johnson died from blunt force trauma to the head. In June, 2013, Kendrick’s parents won a court order to have their son’s body exhumed for a second autopsy. However, when the second postmortem was attempted, the pathologist discovered that someone had removed Kendrick Johnson's brain, heart, lungs, liver and other viscera and replaced the black youth’s organs with old newspapers. It was as if the black teen had been murdered so that his organs could be harvested.

May 26, 2013 - Cell Phone Video: California Female Cop Killing a Black man With Baton in Sacramento, California.

June 17, 2013 – Odin Lloyd, the black linebacker for the Boston Bandits, was shot five times — twice while he lay on the ground — early on June 17. One .45-caliber bullet pierced his heart. The black man died with $64.75 in a back pocket of his jeans. Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arraigned on a first-degree murder charges for allegedly orchestrating the killing of Lloyd.

July 18, 2013 - 44-year-old Tyrone West, an unarmed African-American man, was stopped and violently beaten in the Kitmore neighborhood of northeast Baltimore. West died later while in police custody. Baltimore police say that the violent nature of the black man’s arrest had nothing to do with his death. They claim that West died of health issues exacerbated by dehydration and heat. On December 18, the city prosecutor decided that no police officer would be charged for causing the death of Tyrone West.

August 13, 2013 - Cops Punch & Slam 16 Year Old Black Female To The Ground! Was This Justified?

Sept. 25, 2013 - According to neighborhood witnesses, two white Oakland police officers chased an African American man appearing to be about 20 years old up 99th Avenue and south on Cherry Street toward 100th Avenue. Before the black man reached the corner, he tossed away his bag and put his hands in the air. Approaching the unarmed black youth whose hands were in the air, the police shot him. As he lay bleeding on the sidewalk, the police placed a knee in his back and handcuffed him. While the black man lay bleeding on the ground, one of the officers went through his pockets. No first aid was administered. Witnesses stated that it took about four hours for an ambulance to arrive. Though the shooting took place on Sunday, the young man’s family was not notified until the following Tuesday.

October 12, 2013 - Raymond Johnson, a 41-year-old black man died after being taken into police custody in Moreno Valley, California. Johnson’s family wants to know why. A confrontation between Johnson and the police was caught on video in a Moreno Valley parking lot. Witnesses say that the police went too far.

January 14, 2014 - Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M University football player moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to be with his fiancée. He was working two jobs, but intended to go back to school to study automotive engineering. On Saturday morning around 2:30 a.m. the black man's car ran off the road in a sprawling suburban neighborhood some 15 miles from downtown Charlotte. Ferrell stumbled out of his vehicle and headed towards a police car parked nearby seeking help from the police officer inside. When Officer Randall Kerrick saw the black man stumbling towards his vehicle, the policeman drew his weapon and fired at Jonathan Ferrell twelve times. Ten bullets tore into the unarmed black man who was dead before he slumped to the pavement. A Charlotte grand jury decided not to indict the police officer for the killing.

January 15, 2014 - Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old black woman from Detroit, knocked on the door of a Dearborn Heights home at 2:30 A.M. on Saturday asking for help. McBride's family says that the black teenager had been in a car accident and her cellphone was dead. As the girl turned to walk ___ or run away ___ from the home, the white homeowner came outside and shot her in the head with a shotgun. The buckshot entered McBride's head from the back. However police reports say that the teenager was found dead on the homeowner's front porch. No charges were filed.

January 27, 2014 -Rodney Bruce Black, 62, of Barboursville, West Virginia, a white man, fatally shot both Garrick Hopkins, 60, and his brother, Carl Hopkins Jr., 61, two black men. The black men were shot on property that they had just recently purchased ___ property that previously belonged to the white shooter’s family.

February 9, 2014 - A black man in his early twenties was shot to death in a parking lot in Fayette County Kentucky by a white man. Nothing more was reported about the incident.

February 14, 2014 - A man described only as a black male, was shot and killed by law enforcement officers as the black man was walking alone on Nevada’s State Route 159 in the Red Rock Canyon National Recreation Area outside Las Vegas. Police say that the dead man was unarmed and he had not been involved in any criminal activity.

Furthermore, black athletes are dying __ mysteriously …

January 8, 2014 - Wayne State College football player Eddie Key III died of heart failure, according to autopsy results. Key, 18, was found was found dead in his dorm room Saturday. Neither drugs nor alcohol were found in his body. Key played defensive end for Wayne State last fall after he graduated from Lincoln North Star High School in Lincoln, Nebraska.

January 24, 2014 - Brandon A. Robinson, 20, was taken to a local hospital after being shot by four white suspects outside his dormitory on the South Carolina State University campus. Robinson, a redshirt junior who played on the South Carolina State University football team, died of his wounds.

February 7, 2014 - Cal officials confirmed Friday morning that a member of the football team, Ted Agu, a black defensive end from Bakersfield collapsed during a training run and later died Agu, a 6’1″ 240-lb junior, was 21.

February 10, 2014 - Adrian Bowman, a black 17 year old, was found dead on Sunday in Creve Coeur, Missouri just outside St. Louis. Bowman played football for De Smet Jesuit High School and just signed a letter of intent to play at Lindenwood University in the fall. De Smet school officials would not release the circumstances surrounding Bowman’s death. De Smet football coach Pat Mahoney spent Sunday discussing the black senior defensive back’s death with players and students.

February 15 2014 - Andre Jones, a black Andress High School football star was found dead in a hotel room Friday in El Paso, Texas. According to the El Paso Police Department, they found the black man’s body in the El Paso Suites Hotel around 8 a.m. after the police received an anonymous call from a local payphone. The 24-year-old Jones was said to be one of the best El Paso football players ever produced. He was named to the Parade All-America Team, voted Class 4A defensive player of the year by the Texas Sports Writers Association and named to the Associated Press All-State team. In 2008 Jones attended the University of Texas at El Paso but was injured when hit by a car outside of an El Paso club. Police say that, though there were no signs of foul play, an autopsy will be done to determine the cause of death.

Professional athletes seem to be seeking protection …

Three hundred pound black football player, Jonathan Martin, makes news when he quits the Miami Dolphins because Richie Incognito verbally abused him in the Miami Dolphins’ locker room. Martin says that Incognita made him feel uncomfortable.

Seven foot tall black basketball player, Jason Collins ___ with questionable basketball skills and minimal court time ___ becomes an international celebrity and earns a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine when he announces that he is “gay”.

University of Missouri football player Michael Sam publicly announces that he is gay, making him the first openly gay active NFL player …

Does the fact that most black men cannot read account for any of these tragedies …

According to the 2011 U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only 10 percent of 8th-grade black boys are reading at or above a proficient grade level. However, reading to learn occurs at the advanced reading level. Carl Rowan wrote the book, The Coming Race War In America , yet most black men are unable to read it.

… or explain the black experience on today’s college campuses?

November, 2013 - Three white students at San Jose State University in California were charged with hate crimes, including calling their black roommate derogatory names, writing racial epithets on whiteboards in their suite, and, at one point, hanging a bicycle lock around his neck.

November 2013 - A member of the student government at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln used the N-word during a committee hearing in which he opposed a resolution encouraging student representatives not to use derogatory language in everyday speech.

January 2014 - a fraternity chapter at Arizona State University that hosted a party over the Martin Luther King holiday was expelled from campus after social media photos showed partygoers wearing saggy pants and posing with cups made from hollowed-out watermelons.

January 2014 – Tyrell Collier, a senior double-majoring in sociology and Afro-American and African studies, encouraged students to tweet about what it's like being black at the University of Michigan with the hashtag #BBUM. Collier said that he just wanted to bring an awareness of what black students face on a daily basis:

--"Dealing with the irony of being the only black person in a class where the prof says it's easier for black folks to get admitted."

--"#BBUM is NOT raising your hand in class because you do not want to be THAT black person who just doesn't get it"

--"U can't simply strategically place a few colorful faces on a pamphlet & call urself a diverse instit #BBUM"

--"having to be a 'know it all' in order to receive full credit on assignments b/c your peers second-guess all of your answers"

--"that first class when black culture becomes the topic and you suddenly become the voice of all black people"

--"Are you from Detroit? What sport do you play?

One problem is that ___ even if black people don’t know their own history ___ white people certainly do.

When African American Studies major, Tyrell Collier says:

“Every black student in class feels like Rosa Parks on the bus,”

the white folks at UCLA just snicker to themselves, but the black folds don’t know why.

It was the white folks who put the sign on the gates of Jonestown after the massacre of 1000 black men, women and children. The sign paraphrased Jose Ortega y Gasset:

“Those Who Ignore The Lessons Of History Are Condemned To Repeat Them!”