November 1, 2007

Horrid Crime in South Florida: Black on Black Crime & the invisible black woman

Dunbar Village. Ring any bells? Call up any images in your mind? Or are you drawing a blank? If you answered blank, its not surprising. The story of this horrible crime against a black woman that happened in this housing project has gotten little national coverage and no response at all that I'm aware of from the black establishment (NAACP, Urban League) or from the race hustlers (Sharpton, Jackson). None of the presidential candidates have mentioned it either. In a nutshell, on June 18th, 2007, a single mother and her 12 year old were assaulted for over three hours. The mother was gang raped and sodomized by 10 black thugs and forced to perform oral sex on her 12 year old at gun point. They were then doused with cleaning fluids and household chemicals, blinding the son and burning the mother. Four are in custody and the remainder are being sought. All of this took place within the paper thin four walls of the victims public housing apartment, surrounded by other people who ignored their screams for over three hours and neither helped nor called the police. Even after the assault was over, no one in the projects lifted a finger to help. They walked miles to a hospital emergency room before anyone did anything for them.

And yet there is nothing from main stream black organizations. The national media has ignored it. Even in West Palm Beach where this happened, the outrage and urgency to do something about it is not there. The Mayor of Newark, Corey Booker, is all over the murder case of the four black students there. The contrast between his response and that of Mayor Frankel ( a woman) in Florida could not be more different.

The horror of the event is only increased for me as time passes because of the response of black America. In the time since this horrid crime, we have invaded Jena and a march is being planned in support of Megan Williams, who was viciously raped and tortured by five white people in Texas. But Dunbar Village no one is talking about. Why? Seemingly because the crime against her was committed by black men. Had it been a group of white men, I suspect that the outrage of black America would be evident and Jesse and Sharpton would have made many a visit. But we have no outrage to spare for the Dunbar Village victim because she was brutalized by other blacks? That seems to be the case and it is a sad commentary on our community. Gina Smith who authors "What About Our Daughters" has been on this issue for months now. She contacted the NAACP and their spokesman actually told her that the Dunbar Village case is not within their mission. In mission or not, that the NAACP can't muster itself to make any statement on the case or to get involved in assuring pressure is maintained for these criminals to be caught is hard to understand.

However, the NAACP chapter in Atlanta thought it was necessary to publicly comment on Michael Vick, who was not being railroaded by anyone, but was justifiably suffering the consequences of his very foolish actions. But there is no comment for the Dunbar Village victims or seemingly caring, because they were brutalized by other blacks.

Its a too common circumstance that we focus great amounts of attention and energy on injustice to blacks from whites, but have no commentary about the harms we do to each other. We will expend tremendous energy to call whites to account, but miss the opportunity to call ourselves and our community to account. Surely, the atrocity in Dunbar Village is an opportunity for us to say to each other, "this must end". The crime infested, low quality of life environment of Dunbar Village that provided the conditions, setting and the attitude of indifference by other residents for this crime is an example of the low standard that we too often tolerate. No one called the police, no one intervened and after it was over, residents behaved as though they did not care that it had happened.

The criminals have not all been brought to justice. Where is our community to demand that these people be caught? Where is the outpouring of support for the victims to help them put their lives back in order? We give support to the Jena Six, who were charged far in in excess of the crime, but who nevertheless did initiate and commit a six on one assault against another student. Protesting the prosecutor's overreach does not mean we abdicate our responsibility to make some moral critique of the Six's behavior. They are making appearances on BET. But what are we doing about the Dunbar victims to aid their recovery or address the crime committed against them? Clearly less than these other cases. And why is that? Because we are apparently far less committed to demanding accountability from ourselves than we are from white people. Had the Dunbar Village victim been brutalized by whites, we would be marching now. But we are making no effort to demand accountability from ourselves. The black community in Miami Beach should be turning these criminal dogs in. There should be no place they can find rest or shelter. The reward should be huge. But there is no outrage. Nothing on the level of what the lying woman in the Duke rape case received. Even after it was clear she was a liar, Jesse was saying his offer of help and a scholarship were still open.

Our moral compass is so off track, that we lose all perspective in the drive to press claims for redress in cases of crimes committed by whites against blacks, while at the same time basically ignoring the daily death we practice against one another. Dunbar Village is a savage example of this myopia.