On Saturday, former NFL linebacker and current ESPN football commentator Ray Lewis released a video admonishing black people for the increasing murder rates within their communities throughout the country.
He directed his question at the human rights organization Black Lives Matter, which has picked up the fight against police brutality and the legalized lynching of black people by law enforcement and its proxies since the death of Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman four years ago.
Lewis also claims that black people are playing the victim when calling out the police officers who shoot them and the criminal justice system that enables them to do so without punishment. In his rambling diatribe, Lewis urges the listeners who could stomach his words to begin looking at one another as the cause of our own degradation rather than the age-old system that allows these things to happen.
Lewis continually uses the ongoing bloodshed in the city of Chicago to hammer home is messages, as well as the city of Baltimore later in the video.
It is anybody’s guess why Lewis would ask other black people about the violence in Chicago rather than the city government whose jurisdiction the violence occurs in, and the law enforcement officials who have failed to head off this increase in violence. In addition, as is to be expected from people who like to coddle and cozy up to an establishment that has industrialized grinding black lives to dust, Ray’s meandering, mess of a message never talks about how the black-on-black murder rate of 93 percent within the black community is comparable to the white-on-white murder rate of 85 percent.
Yet, there is no mention of generations of purposeful divestment and mismanagement that has caused the inner cities of America to become what they are.
There are some hellified “hoods” in Iowa, North Carolina and West Virginia in particular, not to mention in thousands of other municipalities across America. Very violent, drug-infested and deadly, yet we never see these types of overtures directed at impoverished white people.
There are hundreds if not thousands of studies that explain why violence occurs in impoverished areas. Most will mention lack of youth activities, fatherless households, poor educational infrastructure, de facto community segregation, red-lining and police apathy as reasons why.
Not one of those studies mentions race as the sole predictor of violence. Yet, here Ray is convoluting the age-old push for equal rights and the fair treatment of blacks in America by alluding that we are entirely to blame for these situations.
In my estimate, it is Antebellum-inspired lunacy. No mention of the manufacturers of automatic weapons and the NRA actively fighting against legislation that would make it more difficult for these powerful weapons to get into the hands of the wrong people. No mention of the red-lining that sapped the resources from these communities or the wildly ineffective and blatantly racist War on Drugs and the Prison Industrial Complex that is in large part responsible for draining black communities of its male parental leadership.
Not sure if the internet mumbling and rumblings of Ray Lewis are his personal form of penance for past misdeeds or not, but the manner in which he continuously suckles up to the establishment is disturbing and stomach-turning to say the least.
He has demonstrated a willful ignorance to the facts on the subject upon which he speaks. He needs to read up. A good place to start would be The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.