Monday, July 6, 2009

"Man in the Mirror" and #9

The recent loss of Michael Jackson and Steve "Air" McNair has stirred many within the African American community to serious personal reflection and mourning.  While the shock of these losses is fresh the tragedy of how and why we've lost raises questions as to the black man's vision for ourselves and our families.  Publicly these two men reached pinnacles in life of which movies are made and children dream.  Yet they both depart this world with tragic endings leaving families, friends and fans heartbroken.  What is it about the black experience in this country that renders the likelihood of a black man's life ending with violence, drugs or a combination of both so probable?  Never mind the statistical data for black men's disproportional incarceration rates.  Why can't we go out on top?  Resign and/or retire from the top paying fields of endeavor on our own terms, the house with grandchildren, dogs and picket fences in suburbia or wherever we choose?  Why are the high profile, iconic, grind iron heroes and pop culture pioneers consistently going out in bankruptcy, fetal position, morgue table, toxicology result pending, and death by club altercation tragic headlines?   How can we manage to live a publicly successful life with millions of admirers but die in a haze of media frenzy awaiting autopsy results?  Michael Jackson at 50 years needed fifty real friends and family around him to show him the love found in the word "no".  While Steve McNair at 36 years old needed just one friend to show him thirty-six reasons why is wife and sons were his best chance of enjoying life over the 4th of July weekend.  Without judgment or finger pointing I submit to you that "I'm starting with the man in the mirror" and I'm sincerely "asking him to change his way".  Can it get any clearer?