Imagine Soldier Field beyond capacity, brimming with 63,879 young African-American men, ages 18 to 24 — more than U.S. losses in the entire Vietnam conflict.
Imagine the University of Michigan’s football stadium — the largest in the U.S. — filled to its limit of 109,901 with black men, age 25 and older. Now add 28,223 more — together totaling more than U.S. deaths in World War I.
Picture two UIC Pavilions packed with 12,658 Trayvon Martins — black boys, ages 14 to 17 — nearly twice the number of U.S. lives lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now picture all of them dead. The national tally of black males 14 and older murdered in America from 1976 through 2005, according to U.S. Bureau of Justice statistics: 214,661.
The numbers tell only part of the story of this largely urban war, where the victims bear an uncanny resemblance to their killers. A war of brother against brother, filled with wanton and automatic gunfire, even in the light of day, on neighborhood streets, where little boys make mud pies, schoolgirls jump rope, where the innocent are caught in the crossfire, where the spirit of murder blows like the wind.
It is, so far, a ceaseless war in which guns are often the weapon of choice, and the finger on the trigger of the gun pointed at a black male is most often another black male’s.
The numbers alone are enough to make me cry — to wonder why — we as African Americans will march en masse over one slain by someone who is not black, and yet sit silent over the hundreds of thousands of us obliterated from this mortal world by someone black like us, like me. It is a numbing truth borne out by hard facts:
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