Freddie Gray (137078)
Credit: Contributed

Black men know why we are murdered. We talk about it. Black men know why we are incarcerated. We mull over it. Black men know why we are miseducated. Dr. Carter G. Woodson penned a book about it!

We may play stupid, we may even act stupid, but trust me, we are far from stupid. We know exactly what’s going on!

For starters, Black men, intellectually, are the most intimidatingly driven people on the planet. Our wherewithal is unparalleled in modern times. Despite the vestiges of slavery, the remnants of segregation, the mental abuses of Jim Crow and, most recently, the subtle psychological tactics used to discourage and limit Black enrollment in PSYCH (my acronym for America’s top universities: Princeton, Stanford, Yale, Columbia and Harvard) Black men plowed forward.

For example, in lieu of the aforementioned obstacles, African-Americans remain inspired by the remarkable accomplishments of Princeton alumnus Dr. Cornell West, Ph.D.; Stanford alumnus Sen. Corey Booker; Yale alumnus Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.; Columbia alumnus astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson; and last, but certainly not least, Harvard alumnus President Barack Obama.

Secondly, physically, Blacks are the most threatening people on the planet. In 1946, America welcomed them into the NFL. Today, O.J. Simpson, although incarcerated, continues to hold the records of the quickest acquisition of 1,000 and 2,000 yards, respectively. Also, in 1946, baseball player Jackie Robinson was named Rookie of the Year. By 1950, he was the highest paid player on his team. In basketball, Wilt Chamberlain redefined the game. Posthumously, he continues to hold over 70 seemingly insurmountable records.

Spiritually, Blacks are just as tough. Whether it was runaway slaves who were concealing and relaying messages through the hymns of Negro spirituals or Black pastors using their churches as safe homes and food pantries to provide mental and physical encouragement, the clergy has been instrumental in the longevity of American Black life. In fact, over a decade ago, a fiery minister beckoned a million of us to meet him in the nation’s capital. We came!

However, most of the recent malicious systemic murders seemed to have occurred in the poorest neighborhoods. If developers like NYCHA are allowed to lump thousands of indigent individuals atop one another in a location that has a circumference no larger than a football field, they are indirectly creating a confined environment similar to that of a maximum security prison.

Frustrations are bound to boil over. It is similar to abiding in a heavily congested subway car during rush hour. Arguments and fights are inevitable. Meanwhile, lawmakers are making decisions from reference points created by their suburban and exurban experiences.

As a resulting consequence, once tenants are viewed as inmates, the Stanford prison experiment (a study simulating of the psychology of prison) takes on a life of its own. The local police morph into correctional officers, and the poor, unsuspecting residents become property.

The problem is not the murdered; it’s the murderers! They fear extinction! But don’t let their fear become our fear. That’s not fair!

Saint Solomon is an author and essayist.