Too Young to Die
Why do we ignore murders of blacks by other blacks?

A vigil for Albert Vaughn (Chicago Reporter)


Lee Habeeb

His name was Albert Vaughn. He was by all accounts a very good kid living in a very tough neighborhood. He was attending a party at a home that was supposed to be a haven for young inner-city Chicago teens back in April of 2008. The kids were there to enjoy some fun, drink some Kool-Aid, and listen to their favorite music, free from the fear of violence that too often inhabited the streets outside.

But violence found a way in.

At about 10:30 p.m., a scuffle broke out in the basement between two of the guests, and the fight ignited a chain of events that led to the death of the innocent young man. He was fatally struck in the head with a baseball bat as he tried to help the party chaperones usher the kids home.

That’s right. A baseball bat. The same murder weapon Al Capone killed a guy with in The Untouchables.

“He was just trying to do something good for the ’hood because there’s nothing but violence around here,” Sunday Turman, 33, who hosted the party, told reporters. “Next thing you know, he hit the ground right in front of police.”

Vaughn, a student at Julian High School, was the 23rd Chicago Public Schools student slain that school year.

From 2008 through January of 2012, 530 young people have been killed in Chicago, President Obama’s hometown. Over 80 percent of those homicides occurred in black or Latino communities on the city’s South, Southwest, and West sides.

But you don’t know Albert Vaughn’s name.

You don’t know the name of those other 22 kids from Julian High School who died in 2008.

You don’t know any of the other 530 young people, most of them minorities, who were killed between 2008 and January of 2012 in Chicago alone.

All of them were tragedies. All of those victims were too young to die.

Why didn’t you hear about their senseless deaths? Why didn’t the media make them household names? Why didn’t civil-rights leaders march, and march and march again, calling for justice?

Because they were not killed by a white guy.

No, I need to be more accurate. They were not killed by a “white Hispanic,” a new term of art the New York Times and others in the media are using to describe George Zimmerman, the man who killed Trayvon Martin.

Why? Because the real racism that exists in the media is this: a young black male’s life is not worth reporting when it is taken by another black male. It is worth reporting only when it is taken by a white guy.

Thus the contortions to make George Zimmerman “white.”

If this were a voter-ID story, Zimmerman would have been called an Hispanic, not a “white Hispanic.”

And if he were a presidential candidiate, Zimmerman would have been called an Hispanic, not a “white Hispanic.”

I don’t ever remember the New York Times calling President Obama the first “white black” president.

The real tragedies here are the stories not being told by the media when it comes to race. So let me continue with Albert Vaughn’s.