by Harriet Hairston
It has taken me a few days to find any words that would be coherent enough to write through the ocean of tears shed over the brutal death of Derrion Albert. All the world is a stage, and to watch the lives of at least five young men come to an abrupt end like they did is a tough pill to swallow. One breathed his last on the cold, hard asphalt of dreams deferred; and at least four will be man-children in a land of broken promises, behind bars that legalize the repealing of the emancipation proclamation that set us as a people free.
I keep waiting for snopes.com to tell me it was all a hoax…a terrible nightmare. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to happen. This case will play out on the world stage of public opinion and ignorant outrage that such an egregious act could happen in the baseball, apple pie, red-white-and-blue streets of these United States.
Only this is not a rare blip on the backdrop of typical American life; this type of tragedy happens EVERY DAY, but we act all brand new when it hits too close to home. Now that REALITY has brought the plight of the young, gifted and black male to the forefront of this world’s stage, what do we do? Where do we go from here?
Nas started in the right direction by writing a letter to the four adolescents arrested in connection with Derrion Alberts’ death. He said black men were “born warriors…and instead of building each other up, we are at war with each other. You’re me and I’m you, but you are fighting the wrong war!”
Great statement, Nas. I truly pray your newborn son Knight won’t have to suffer the same plight as these young men as a byproduct of the ugly divorce between you and Kelis. God knows we don’t need one more child with an absent father struggling to find his or her identity. If I were to borrow a line from one of his songs, I would definitely say that mental, emotional and spiritual emancipation is what is needed in cases like this.
If I ruled the world, I’d free all my sons from:
- Succumbing to the identity that BET and other media circles have fed them all their lives. The only choices given on TV are ball player, rapper, drug dealer, deadbeat or flaming homosexual. Our culture has so much more richness than that.
- Absentee fathers. How can a boy learn to be a man if a positive role model of a man is not setting the example? Fathers, be there! I’m not just talking about deadbeats who end up on Maury Povich, but men who would rather work to give their children everything they want, but neglect to spend time with them.
- Dysfunctional upbringing. It shouldn’t be normal for a child to hear their mother curse their father out, their father to punch their mother in the face, or for multiple sets of brothers and sisters by different mothers and fathers to give the Census Bureau something to talk and shake their heads about.
- A lack of vision and purpose. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, inventors were going buck wild on that street. But if all a boy sees is TODAY, they will never be able to focus on the possibilities of the future.
- No knowledge about God and the fact that we were created in HIS creative image.
Imagine THAT kind of freedom playing out on the world’s stage. One day at a time, we can make it happen so Derrion Alberts’ death can make him a martyr rather than just another victim of a senseless crime. Perhaps future Derrion Alberts will be able to take a bow on the world’s stage because they have effectively flipped the script on these abnormal normalities.
Harriet Hairston, a freelance writer, human resources administrator at an HBCU and creator of the motivational blog, “Can She SAY That?!?” has a unique style that brings readers into her life through her transparent demeanor. She lives in Louisiana with her husband and two sons. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.