The Black Man Who Killed an Elderly Black Person

Every time I think about the 37-year old black man, namely Steve Stephens, who killed an innocent elderly black male, I am profoundly pained. For all the talk on the part of blacks that black lives matter, I have asked myself over and over and over again: How could a 37-year old black man kill an innocent elderly black person if, indeed, black lives truly matter to blacks?
Of course, the news reports that Steve Stephens his now dead. But that reality does not settle the horrific behavior on the part of Steve Stephens of killing an elderly and innocent black person. And there is nothing that anyone has said that makes any sense of the horrific wrongdoing on the part of Steve Stephens.

Most significantly, I have not at all heard a tremendous outcry on the part of blacks with regard to the horrendously wrongful behavior on the part of Stephens. And that suggests to me that there is a kind of psychological dysfunctionality on the part numerous blacks in the United States.

When a white person kills an innocent black person, it is very often the case that blacks take to the street in protest. Now, to be sure, since Stephens is dead, there is a sense in which protesting his wrongful behavior can be seen as utterly inconsequential—certainly in terms of reminding Stephens of the wrong that he did. Just so, a significant gathering on the part of blacks could be a way of blacks taking a substantial moral stance in terms of how blacks need to conduct themselves.

I do not deny that there is yet racism in the United States. However, an indisputable truth is that there is a perfectly understandable reason why blacks are not seen as models of moral excellence. And that reason is none other than the reality that violence is way too commonplace in black communities. Horrific behavior on the part of the members of an ethnic group towards one another is a very substantial obstacle to the members of that very ethnic group being respected by individuals of other ethnic groups.

Interestingly, there is a very respect in which blacks during the Civil Rights Movement had greater respect among non-blacks than blacks do nowadays. For an indisputable truth is that during the Civil Rights Movement blacks showed a level of moral excellence and determination that very much commanded the respect of numerous non-blacks.

As far as I can see, blacks are doing little nowadays to command the respect of non-blacks. And the behavior of Steve Stephen’s—who killed an elderly black male—mightily underscores the point just made. I fully embrace the view that black lives matter. Alas, unless black lives also truly matter to blacks, then there is a very strait forward sense in which we who are black are not according one another the moral standing that people like the Rev. Martin Luther King put their very lives on the line in order to bring about for blacks.

As we all know, if a white person had killed that innocent elderly black male, there would have been riots in the street on the part of blacks. Well, if in general blacks were going about achieving profound success, we would have a very different form of gathering in the streets on the part of blacks, namely a gathering where blacks majestically inspired one another, as well as non-blacks, to be tremendously successful and excellent. And that would be absolutely awesome and ever so awe inspiring.

© Laurence Thomas, 2017

About Laurence Thomas

Laurence Thomas is Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Department of Philosophy at Syracuse University. His most recent book is The Family and the Political Self and his most recent article in French is "Juifs et Noirs: Au-delà du Mal" in Trigano (ed.) Juifs et Noirs: du Mythe à la Réalité. Thomas has published numerous essays on the topic of friendship. The essay "The Character of Friendship" has appeared in volume on friendship, entitled Thinking About Friendship, edited by Damian Caluori and the essay "Friendship in the Shadow of Technology" has appeared in the anthology Moral and Moral Controversies edited by Steven Scalet and John Arthur. His most recent essay--entitled "Being Moral and Handling the Truth"--is about circumstances under which it is morally permissible to lie. Indeed, an example is given in Section IV of a lie being morally virtuous.
This entry was posted in Articles. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *