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Did Derrion Albert’s Death Influence The Olympic Decision?

Submitted by on October 4, 2009 – 7:37 pm7 Comments


First of all, this is not – I repeat – is NOT a diss to Chi-town. I am very painfully aware of the fact that the subject matter that I’m about to deal with does not constitute a Chicago problem, but an American problem and do not want/need anyone from the Chi feeling dissed behind this. Thanks for your understanding.

Chicago has given us so much in the way of culture and music – R. Kelly, Common, Twista, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco… The organizing and political career of Barack Obama started there and his wife, Mrs. Michelle Obama was born there. We’ve heard all of these people speak of their love for their city and the things that it taught them. However, it was not enough to make it the host city of the 2016 Olympics.

The President himself came out to make a push for the city. His wife did as well, and she brought Oprah with her. While I’m sure that their words, support, and enthusiasm was much-appreciated by the International Olympic Committee, there was another message sent by the city that may have factored in to its decision to go elsewhere.


That message, of course, is the death of Derrion Albert. The brutal beating of a 16-year old bystander to senseless and ignorant self-hatred expressed through inexplicable violence is a more accurate way to put it. Much has been said all over the web about the incident, including here and here on DrJays.com Live.

Not only is the death heinous, cruel, and absolutely inexcusable – the fact that it was taped, that people walked by without as much as a word makes it even more so. But it goes a step further than that. Everyone was so busy promoting Chicago to the IOC that there seemed to be little response in the way of statements made to the community from its most influential.

True, there were memorials, vigils, and the funeral – as well as the community speakers and concerned citizens who spoke there. Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan both attended the funeral and spoke about the implications that a murder like this has in the community, and are to be commended. I would not dare belittle their efforts – however, they are the usual speakers at such occasions.

Where were the big names that were mentioned at the beginning of this post (in all fairness, the President is slated to make a statement about Albert’s death soon)? Where were the merchants and those who work for economic development who had been campaigning so hard for the city of Chicago to host the Olympics? Where were their pledges to do whatever they can to ensure that nothing like this happens again?

Essentially, I’m asking if the impression of Chicago given by its biggest names, politicians, and developers was that it ignores social problems in attempts for economic and publicity gains. On to the bigger issue.

There have been so many opportunities afforded to my generation by those who came before us. We go to integrated schools, we have rights (on paper – actual respect of those rights can be a different story sometimes).

Racism no longer comes from American institutions – instead, when it comes, it comes from the people running those institutions. I’m not saying that everything is perfect. However, I am saying that we don’t see nearly as much vehement and clear-cut racism as was once witnessed in this country – yet so many of us blame “the white man” for so much.

Look at that video and see how many white men were beating Derrion Albert to death.

Albert was an honor student who was not involved with any gang. Why do we often cause harm to those with the potential to help our communities the most? In striving to fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr – a dream to live in peace and harmony with other ethnicities – we forgot to live in peace and harmony with ourselves! It’s not white hatred that brutalizes us, that beats us, that kills us. It’s our own hatred for one another that inhibits our rights.

We sang “We Shall Overcome,” meaning that we would trounce bigotry and prejudice. However, we now need to overcome our own hostility and fear of one another. The only way to do that is to know who we are for ourselves. We have to replace the stereotypes of ourselves propogated by mainstream media with actual history and knowledge (not to mention the fact we need to counteract the help that mainstream media gets from influential rappers and networks who work to glorify and glamorize the lifestyles and mentalities that can lead to the acceptance and imitation of these stereotypes).

We have to choose to be fathers to our children, therefore ridding them of the rage that so many seem to feel at the sight of those who seek to be positive men and women in our communities. Each citizen and resident of every neighborhood and community has to, once again, commit himself or herself to being a part of the proverbial “village” that it takes to raise a child. There’s no more time for merely taking care of one’s own. We have to care for our entire communities – that way, no one has an excuse for acting like the savages that so many people expect and have proclaimed us to be.

The next phase of the Movement is just like FUBU – for us, by us – because we have to see ourselves as equal and treat each other as such before we can command such treatment from the world.

Photo Credit: CBS NEWS

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