What The Murder of Derrion Albert Says About America

Chicago Beating Death Vigilby Demetrius D. Walker

You've seen it by now.  The whole world has seen the carnage that ensued amidst the brawl that resulted in Derrion Albert losing his life.  Shock, astonishment, and tearful resentment filled your psyche as you watched Black youth try their best to destroy each other on a Chicago street corner.  Some of you implicate the parents, while others blame the lack of police intervention.  Many of you disgustedly threw your arms in the air and simply muttered "ni**az" out of frustration.  Regardless of the reaction, few people can point to the true root of the Hip Hop Generation's destructive mentality, and even fewer have a solution to resolve the issue at hand.  Grounded in both street knowledge and formal education, I will tackle both conflicts head on.

Coincidentally, I had just finished re-reading Cornel West's poignant best seller Race Matters when I was alerted to Brother Albert's untimely demise.  West, who I've had the privilege to meet on 2 separate occasions, aptly describes the dark mentality that has infected our youth as Black nihilism.  According to Dr. West:

The proper starting point for the crucial debate about the prospects for black America is an examination of the nihilism that increasingly pervades black communities. Nihilism is to be understood here not as a philosophic doctrine that there are no rational grounds for legitimate standards or authority; it is, far more, the lived experience of coping with a life of horrifying meaninglessness, hopelessness, and (most important) lovelessness. The frightening result is a numbing detachment from others and a self-destructive disposition toward the world. Life without meaning, hope, and love breeds a coldhearted, mean-spirited outlook that destroys both the individual and others.

Clearly Black nihilism, as defined by Cornel West is what you witnessed in the footage capturing Derrion Albert's murder.  No other concept can better explain an honor roll student being violently beaten to death by two Black rival gangs.

So now that the true issue has been identified, we must not only address how we arrived at this destination, but more importantly how we progress beyond this roadblock.  Let's start with America overall.  We live in a society completely enamored with violence.  Boxing is the sport of yesteryear... we need the blood and gore of Ultimate Fighting to keep us entertained.  Furthermore, nobody loves guns as much as we do.  Estimates put the number of guns in this country at 250 million.  In fact, instead of our law making officials searching for a solution to combat the murder rate in the city where Derrion Albert met his demise, the Supreme Court was busy hearing a 2nd Amendment case arguing that citizens of Chicago need easier access to guns!  On the heels of people bringing machine guns to Obama rallies and the Virginia Tech massacre still lingering in our subconscious, there is still a contingent of people that believe we don't have enough guns in this country.  What kind of message does that send to our children and subsequent generations of Americans?  We are perpetuating a cycle of violent behavior.

Narrowing the scope of the issues that led to Derrion's death, I would be remiss not to mention the lack of positive Black role models, leaders, mentors, and parents that exist in the Black community.  Who do you think the thugs captured on video cite as their major influences in life?  I can assure you it's not Cornell West.  It's obviously not their hometown hero Barack either.  The choices can only be A) Older thugs, B) No one at all, or C) Jackasses like THIS that tell them "f**k school, come and [gang]bang with us."

Watching the Derrion Albert beating, I could not help but to recall my public school days in the Bronx where I had to hide my flawless report card from the menacing degenerates that employed the "f**k school" mentality.  Being a straight A scholar was considered being a nerd, a no-no, an enemy to Black street life.  Essentially, I would have been the target of unwarranted beatdowns had anyone discovered my true love of intellectualism.  This is the mentality that must shift if there is to be any hope for the future of Black America.  We have to teach Black youth that Smart Is The New Gangsta.  The sooner Black people embrace this concept, the sooner we will see a turn for the best in our community.  To get there we will need strong mentorship programs, Black male retreats, and more positive images of Blacks in the media.  Tragedies like Derrion Albert's death can be avoided if we turn the anger and despair we felt from watching his broadcasted murder into action.  Go out and find a mentee today.  Schedule some time to hang out with your little bad a** cousins, nieces, and nephews.  Stop supporting entertainment that condones Black on Black violence as a way of life.  As we pray that Brother Derrion Albert rests in peace, do not allow his senseless murder to sow the seeds of apathy in your life.]]>