Homicide or Cultural Suicide

James Fisher 3978 President Dr. Cincinnati, Ohio 45225

Nothern Kentucky Univeristy University Center 203 Nunn Drive Highland Hights,Ky 41099

Letter to the editor:

In the last five years, black-on-black killings have taken the lives of many young black males who grew up in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area. Black-on-black killing has had a negative effect on the African American community and must be stopped immediately.

While talking about this situation with Dr. Michael Washington, who is the director of African American Studies at Northern Kentucky University, I discovered that he views black-on-black murders as being cultural suicide rather then homicide. Dr. Washington makes a excellent statement saying, “I call it cultural suicide rather then homicide because when the media hears about a killing in the African American community, it shows up on the news as being a homicide rather then what it really is: cultural suicide.” He strongly believes that not all black people will die as a result of black-on-black homicides, but the act is so prevalent throughout the nation and the black community that it is easy to see that our cultural values have been or are being destroyed. By cultural values Dr. Washington means the respect for family is gone out the window. Dr. Washington went on to say, “Back in the early 1960’s and some parts of the 1970’s, black people used to uplift each other with words like ‘soul brother’ and ‘soul sister’, but now days we settle for words like ‘bitch’, ‘hoe’, or ‘slut’.” With that said, he feels if you don’t have respect for the people you call those names, it’s much easier for a person to kill them rather then respect them. This is what’s happening in the African American community today and why there are so many violent acts being committed.

African American males have to deal with being gunned down in the same communities we grew up in as kids, by someone who walks, talks, and looks just like us. At one point, African American men and women in Cincinnati, Ohio, were highly upset because they felt Cincinnati police were committing lawless acts against blacks and getting away with them. But now those things have cooled down to some degree between the Cincinnati police department and the African American community, I personally feel the same guns they once turned on us are the same guns we turn on each other every day.

I never thought the day would come when I personally would know more African American males who have been buried at a young age or are trapped in the justice system, than those who are in college. Young African American males in Cincinnati, Ohio, are dying at a higher rate than any other group of people who live in the city according to Cincinnati Police Department’s Public Information Office. Statistics show that in the year 2004, there were a total of sixty-five homicide victims in Cincinnati, Ohio. Fifty-one (seventy-eight percent) out of the sixty-five people murdered were black males, ages ranging from fifteen to sixty-two. Something which struck me as a problem while looking at the murder rate for 2004 is out of the fifty-one black males that were killed, forty of them were killed by someone of the same color and the other eleven cases were unsolved.

Growing up in a tough Cincinnati neighborhood, I saw my cousin and best friend fall victim to the streets right before his 23rd birthday, so I know all about losing a loved one. Since Kevin’s death, his mother has been on numerous news stations in Cincinnati asking people to come forward with information leading to his death. But being that some people live by the “keeping it real code” (not reporting criminal activity) and the police may have looked at his prior minor run-ins with the law, my family strongly believes that these are two reasons that justice has not been served for his death.

While sitting at my cousin’s funeral, I heard a reverend tell the church, “I don’t know about yall, but I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” At that time I didn’t understand what kind of point the reverend was trying to make, but as I grew older and I started to see young black males who walk, talk, and look just like me start to die off for no apparent reason, I now know exactly how Reverend Jones felt that day preaching to the church. If you can’t look at all things that are happening in Cincinnati’s urban communities along with the facts I provided for you and see how people are being affected as a result of black-on-black violence, then you won’t ever be persuaded.

Black-on-Black violence is a battle I can go out and try to fight alone, but we all know it takes more then one man to win a war. People in areas that don’t have to deal with this type of violence should stop focusing on condemning the crime and being asking what they can do to alleviate this problem. This can largely be affected by the media, which is most people’s source of news from these high-crime areas. The media should more to promote understanding and stop perpetuating a negative, violent situation. Through the negative aspect of this situation, I also have dreams of black and white people from all over the country coming to together and joining hands so we can come up with a positive solution which will help better us as a race rather than destroy us.

Sincerely James Fisher