Black-on-black violence as bad as police brutality

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Washington Park could be the site of the Obama library. | Brian Jackson/For The Sun-Times

Whenever I drive past Jackson Park, I notice the golfers.

Although many of them are African-American — something you would expect to see in an area that is predominantly black — there are also a lot of white golfers.

OPINION

Frankly, given the number of homicides reported in predominantly black areas, I’m amazed that white people feel safe dragging golf bags around Jackson Park.

After all, we’re not talking about the perception of crime.

Murders in Chicago are up 18 percent through the first four months of the year. Roseland, South Shore and West Englewood had six homicides each.

The majority of homicide victims continue to be young black males.

So while Chicago can pat itself on the back for the success of the NFL Draft Town in Grant Park, certain neighborhoods are still under siege.

Long before one brick is laid in either Jackson Park or Washington Park for the Obama library, there has to be a transformation of the South Side.

Indeed, young African-Americans should be as fed up with the predators in their midst as they are with abusive cops on the police force.

I understand why black organizations are focusing on allegations of police brutality, but it is a good time to also put a spotlight on the ongoing black-on-black homicides.

After all, three of the police officers charged in the Freddie Gray murder case in Baltimore are black. Apparently, these officers had no more empathy for Gray’s plight than the white police officers.

Additionally, gang members in Baltimore allegedly called a truce so they could target police officers. Obviously, the idea that gang members would target police officers is despicable, but the very fact that gangs would call a truce in the first place shows it is not impossible to end the violence in black communities.

A lot of the victims of black-on-black violence are innocent bystanders, much like the car owners, shopkeepers and employees who were affected by the riots in Baltimore.

When protesters in Baltimore burned up cars and looted stores, several readers were disgusted.

“They are burning down their own neighborhoods,” readers pointed out

I’m not suggesting the riots would have made more sense had the demonstrators taken their frustration out on someone else’s neighborhood.

Setting fires and looting — whether it’s after a sporting event or in response to police brutality — is wrong no matter where it’s done.

But when Baltimore protesters burned and looted their impoverished neighborhood, they didn’t just make a statement about police brutality, they made a statement about the disdain they had for their own lives.

Baltimore officials and activists were quick to say the city would rebuild the scorched properties, and I agree rebuilding is a necessary step toward healing.

But this kind of government fix could be counterproductive in that it teaches young people the only way they can be heard is for them to be destructive.

Unfortunately, most of the young people who participated in the rioting probably don’t have the skills to rebuild.

But people who live around Jackson Park (and Washington Park) have the skills and community resources to create a safer environment.

If they don’t, the scene around the coveted Obama library will be a lot like the golf course in Jackson Park.

The tourists will have a good time.

But black men will still be looking over their shoulders.

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