PERSPECTIVE • Black-on-black violence condemns an entire race

Dear sons of African-American mothers: Today I stood and looked down the street toward a sight that ripped out a piece of me that should still be there. I stood behind yellow police tape that prevented me from getting close to an African-American son of an African-American mother who now lay cold and distant from a mother's arms. (Gunfire kills two more; chief plots response, April 13).

I recalled recently standing in a park at a rally where I went to protest the unjust murder of another African-American mother's son. But today, as I stared at the lifeless body of a young man who had not truly begun to grasp the meaning of life, I began to wonder: 'Do you sons really care about one another?'

We have come far and triumphed over prejudice to a degree. We have lived through insurmountable circumstances and still stand. We were beaten, mistreated, denied any rights, enslaved, raped, murdered and told that we were not really human. Yet we overcame. Children were taken from mother's wombs, mothers were snatched from their babies, fathers were beaten and murdered in sight of their loved ones. Yet we as a people stood tall.

Sons, will you be the death of us as a people?

Yes, I was involved in that recent rally to protest an unjust murder of an African-American mother's son. But, today, what rally must I attend to protest the unjust murder of another African-American mother's son? This life was not taken by 'the powers that be' but by another African-American mother's son.

Are you, the sons of African-American mothers, so caught up in your own agendas that you have become callous toward your own people? Aren't the lives of your own people worthwhile anymore? Must you murder your brother because he does not see things your way? Isn't it time for African-American mothers' sons to stop murdering African-American mother's sons? Let us stop for a moment and think rationally.

If we as a people think it is acceptable to snatch a life away from another just because, shouldn't others follow our lead? I am not saying that it is right; what I am saying is: How much do you really care about one another?

Life is precious. It is not something that you can take away just because you are angry. Did that individual that you just took away from another African-American mother really perform such an atrocity toward you that you must rid the world of him?

Pride is selfish (adjective Ñ concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure at the expense of consideration for others) and cruel (adjective Ñ disregarding or taking pleasure in the pain or suffering of others). Has your pride been injured so much that you must take away a life that you are unable to give back?

As a mother, and especially as an African-American mother, I ask that you consider this before you pull the trigger:

• How would it affect your mother if it were you in a prone position on the ground?

• If you snatch away that individual's life, will it completely resolve the situation?

• If that was your son you are about to murder, would you still pull the trigger?

• Why are you causing the unsolicited suffering of innocent people just because you are angry with this particular individual?

• Did you stop to think of the suffering of the hundreds of thousands of others who came before you in order to get the African-American people to where we are today?

Anger against an individual is perhaps just a misunderstanding.

Mothers love their children.

Why waste the remainder of your life for a spur-of-the moment decision?

Life itself has enough twists and turns for us as African-Americans. Do we really need to be murdering each other?


Buena Price

An African-American mother

Buena Price is a homemaker and poet who has lived in Northeast Portland since 1977; she grew up in Jacksonville, Fla.

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