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Homicide, Fratricide, Genocide
Published:
5/10/2016 4:33:41 PM

By Barney Blakeney 
 

I was watching a television news program the other day and saw a story about the genocide being committed in Syria. It reminded me of the atrocities committed in both Bosnia and Rwanda. Man’s inhumanity to man. We’re strange creatures - and we have the audacity to call the beasts of the forests ‘dumb animals’.

Seeing the genocide that’s committed overseas, I thought about the homicide, fratricide and genocide that’s being committed right here in the United States of America. We don’t use those terms, but the acts are just the same.

I’m stuck on the homicides being committed in North Charleston this year - 13 and counting. I think there have been something like 20 so far this year in Charleston County. Compared to communities like Chicago, Ill. where there have been about 130 committed this year, the number of homicides here may seem small. But even one murder is too many.

There’s a difference between murder and homicide. Homicide is one human taking the life of another human. Murder is the intentional taking of life. The sad reality is that all save one of the homicides which have occurred to date in North Charleston have been murders.

For whatever reason, I’ve mistakenly been thinking homicides in Charleston County have been limited to about 30 annually the past few years. When I checked the stats, there were 54 homicides in the county in 2015. I do the homicide reports each January and should have known better or maybe it was wishful thinking. More than likely, I’ve been having some senior moments.

What was more clear was that in Charleston County more than half the victims (32) were Black males. Also what remains clear is that the perpetrators of those homicides all have been other Black males. That’s fratricide - the killing of one’s brother or sister, according to the dictionary.

What is it about these young Black males killing each other? Okay, the Bible says Cain killed Able because of jealousy. The reasons for the fratricide we see in our community may seem more complicated, but I’m thinking it’s basically about the same thing.

In fact, the reasons for many of the homicides we see may be even more simplistic. Sometimes I think many of those committing fratricide don’t have reasons. They just get caught up in the heat of the moment. Everybody’s got guns which provides the means. Absent the ability to reason, many of them don’t know why they turn to violence.

I asked myself why can’t our young men reason. I got the answer on the floor near my desk. Our office is moving into another space in the building, so furniture is being moved from one side of the building to the other. In the process, some stuff was knocked off my desk. I picked up some notes I took back in 2012 from an interview I had with former Charleston County schools administrator David J. Mack Jr. The notes were dated April 30, four years ago.

Mack never used the term, but for me, his comments pointed to what I consider genocide. I looked up the term genocide. Its definition is the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political or cultural group.

Mack said months prior to our interview he asked for a meeting with former Charleston County School District Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley. He was concerned students don’t get training in inductive and deductive reasoning. Whites and Blacks alike are paying a heavy price for a school system that fails to teach our children reasoning, he said.

Until we address issues like the inadequacies in public education, liveable wages, job training and unemployment, our young men will remain mired in an endless cycle of poverty and ignorance. Some folks including people like Dr. Helen Frazier are concerned that in CCSD last year where 24 students were expelled, 23 were Black males.

I always refer to Jawanza Kunjufu’s books about the conspiracy to destroy Black boys. Call me crazy, but when I look at how our community treats Black boys, I can’t help but think of it as genocide.

When it comes to Black people, homicide, fratricide and genocide are okay. I recently heard about a proposal to establish legal heroin shooting stations where today’s growing number of white heroin addicts may safely inject the drug. It’s part of an effort to prevent overdoses. Where has that thought been the past 70 years as heroin ravaged Black communities? You can’t tell me genocide against Black people in America ain’t real.
 

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