“Knockout Game”: Who is playing the race card?

As if there are not enough things in the headlines to make us roll our eyes and place a palm to our foreheads, we now have roving bands of thugs hell bent on randomly attacking and severely injuring people on city streets to worry about. It seems as though no one is safe from the “knockout game”.  Victims in the past week have been a 30 year old chef from New York who was attacked in Philedelphia, a 76 year old woman attacked in Brooklyn, and an Orthodox Jew also attacked in New York city.

Ralph Eric Santiago, a 46 year old homeless man murdered in Hoboken, NJ by two thirteen year olds and a 14 year old

A homeless man was murdered by a band of young teenage assailants (two were 13 and one was 14) when he was attacked in Hoboken, NJ in one of the early attacks. Evidently this has been a well  known and popular “game” in certain societal circles for many years now, it just flew under the national pop culture radar. Now it has come to the fore of the American contiousness and we have people like Ebony writer Maya Rupert saying that this “game” should not be used to “criminalize” black youth. In her piece titled “Playing the Race card with the Knockout Game” she laments that:

“Instead of focusing on the tragedy itself, much of the commentary so far has  made a curious and ahistorical claim that when white people are the victims of  crimes committed by Black people, it receives little attention. Nothing could be  further from the truth. Not only do White victims of crime receive a disproportionate  share of media attention regardless of the race of the perpetrator, cases  with a White victim and Black perpetrator are also significantly more likely to result in an arrest and  conviction.”

So, according to Ms. Rupert, Americans should be more concerned that black people who are caught “playing” this “game” should not suffer the logical results of that participation-arrest and prosecution? But then, dear reader, are we really suprised that anyone in this day and age thinks that roving bands of youth of any race should be allowed to terrorize our urban landscapes injuring and killing innocent citizens at will with impunity? Not so much.

If any good has come of this, it is that the national attention brought to this repulsive excuse for entertainment has forced black “leaders” like Al Sharpton to decry this behavior on the national stage. Recently, Mr. Sharpton wrote a piece for the Huffington Post where he said of  the Knockout “game” :

“There is nothing funny or even remotely entertaining about attacking innocents walking down the street. This is not a “game”; it is inhumane behavior that has no place in our country or the world.  When you start condoning it and you start to act like there’s something funny about these types of actions, you set up the kind of crisis that leads to the demise of everyone. Diversity is one of the greatest strengths of this nation, and we must respect one another in a way that preserves and further develops this diversity. Therefore, when an injustice happens to anyone, it is the duty of all to speak up. Silence is akin to tacit acceptance.”

For once I feel as though I can say a heart felt “AMEN!!” to something that Rev. Sharpton has said. Now if we could just get the mothers in the communities where the young thugs playing this game are growing up to step up and tell them that this is unacceptible behavior in any kind of civilized society. Then maybe, just maybe, we would stop hearing about these random attacks on the evening news. Until then, there is always a CHL.

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Ava Gardner