Little Black Boys, Guilty From Birth

I try not to pull the race card much, mainly because I feel that it is often overused. But, I can’t help but wonder at times, if little Black boys are viewed as being guilty from birth. Controversial cases related to Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Mike Brown and countless others have made it clear that young Black men are considered guilty even in death. In those cases, the police and media were able to pull incriminating details on these victims as a way of making their deaths seem somewhat justified.

That didn’t sit well with me then, and it doesn’t sit with me now in the case of seven year old Amari Brown. This baby was killed right here in Chicago on the fourth of July by a stray bullet. Since his death, CPD, the media and even the mayor have made this case about his father’s criminal background and less about his murder. The difference in this case as opposed to the others is that those young men were being judged based on things they’d done personally. This baby wasn’t old enough to do anything, he barely lived a life at all, but they definitely found a way to make his death seem like less of a tragedy and more like a life that was doomed from the start. There are even people going around saying that his mother shouldn’t have had him by a man like his father, or that she should have kept him away from his dad.

The Superintendent of Police even went on the record to say that the bullet was intended for his father, and that if his father were behind bars, the boy would be alive. I’ve seen many people nod in agreement with this theory as if it’s grounded in something factual. This bothers me a great deal. Why you ask? It’s quite simple, a little Black boy is killed, and instead of mourning his death or searching for his killer, the news wants us to focus on how much of a criminal his father is. Convicted felon or not, he’s a man who just lost his child. He deserves the same respect as any other grieving parent, more importantly, Amari deserves that respect in death.

How can you scream justice for Amari while tearing down one of the people who he more than likely loved and looked up to most? I don’t know his family at all, but I do know that they deserve more than what the media is giving them. His memory deserves more than that. Our little Black boys are being raised in the world where the cards are stacked against them from birth.

Unfortunately, Amari isn’t the first and won’t be the last little Black boy to lose his life in this world, but hopefully his death will open our eyes more and help us fight against the stigma that is against our babies. I don’t have a son yet, but I hope to have one some day. I’m just afraid of raising him in a world where he may not be set up to win.



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  • What I sense is perhaps an unintentional consequence of trying to make sense out of the incomprehensible. A small child, too young to be guilty of anything is shot and killed in our city, and everyone is trying desperately to come up with a "why". It is a shame that there is not more outrage at the loss of life, but I don't think that it is quite the same as some of the other cases you cited. In this instance, I don't think the child was being blamed for his fate, but rather struggling to find an answer for why such an innocent would be the victim of seemingly senseless violence. At that point, the activities and associations of his parents would have bearing as they have been entrusted with the child's welfare. None of us in this world do anything that doesn't impact other people and events. Personal responsibility has gone out of fashion. As a parent, participating in drug or gang related activities, could be viewed as child endangerment and result in that child being removed to a safer environment. In this case, our system totally failed this little boy by not insuring that he was in a safe environment, particularly if his parents' behavior was less than safe.

  • Um I was a little Black Boy and I don't recall my parents being prone to putting me in a situation where I was to be a potential target ( and I grew up in the projects) my point being is that the behavior of the parents dictate the environment of where the child lives that being said and from the gangsta lifestyle that was presented ( they weren't exactly bible thumpers) you pretty much have a recipe for disaster.

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