Thursday, January 24, 2008

Who's to blame for the Hovey Street murders?

On Monday, Jan. 14, 2008, five men broke into a home on the 3200 block of Hovey St. in Indianapolis, looking for drugs and money. They found Gina Hunt, 24, and her son Jordan, 23 months, and Andrea Yarrell, 24, and her daughter, Charlii, 4 months. One man unleashed a volley of shots from a Glock, killing the women and children. The perpetrators and the victims were black. Read more at http://www.indystar.com/.

A recent discussion of the Hovey case on What About Our Daughters evolved into a discussion of how the poor choices of Hunt and Yarrell resulted in the women's deaths and the those of their children. Okay. Duly noted. But shouldn't most of our anger be reserved for the five men who callously murdered two women and two BABIES over weed?

As I commented on Professor Tracey's post on WAOD:

Why is our community loathe to place blame and/or responsibility on the shoulders of black men who commit crimes. Whether it is Genarlow Wilson or R. Kelly or Mike Tyson or O.J. Simpson, there is always an extraneous circumstance, always an excuse, always some unusually high culpability placed on the victim, always some conspiracy theory involving Colombian drug lords, aliens or the CIA. We can never seem to say, "He did it; may he receive a fair punishment." So, predators and deviants and violent monsters take shelter in our communities, safe in the knowledge that nothing will make the black community turn on a black man, unless maybe he votes Republican or something. The main victims of this disturbing tendency are black women and children.

Understand, I know this country has a deplorable record of injustice against black men. Brothers have been set up, unduly incarcerated and exterminated. Still the good black men that I know, get up every day and do the right thing for themselves, their families and their communities. It is a slap in the face of righteous black men when we excuse those who prey on society, their neighborhoods, women, children--whoever--to "get theirs." But inexplicably our community protects them, we "stop snitching" and we blame their victims, especially when they are black women:

...If that young girl wasn't so fast...
...You know I heard she was involved with drugs...
...Well she went up to his room...
...Them young girls shouldn't have been dating thugs...
...Anyway, I don't want to see another black man go to jail...

And so the urban American Janjaweed continue to rape and pillage unbothered.

I believe in personal responsibility. Yes, I do. I try to make the best decisions I can to keep myself and my family safe. But there is no safety in a community that is so attached to the narrative of the black man oppressed by the system that it will protect and celebrate even the most foul abusers, even if doing so leads to the community's destruction.

Rest in peace, Gina, Jordan, Andrea and Charlii. You surely did not deserve this.

Read ongoing coverage of the Hovey Street murders on Aunt Jemima's Revenge here.

Listen to an hourlong Black Women's Roundtable tonight at a special time, 9:30 p.m. EST. The topic, according to Gina, will be: "The rise of barbarism, the unraveling of civilization, and how individual choices will not immunize you from harm in the middle of anarchy."


Listen to Black Women's Roundtable on internet talk radio

5 comments:

Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi Tami,

I think part of the problem is that the so-called Black leaders, Tom Joyner included, are operating with last century’s mindset.

I think that a major thrust last century was securing justice for Black men. The incidence of Black men not receiving fair treatment in the justice system was astounding.

As we move into this new century most of the leaders have not adjusted the thrust/ focus of their movements to focus on problems that afflict the Black community today.

So this mentality pervades African America; everyone is on cruise control trying to save the Black man at all cost.

I think, actually I am very sure that the blogisphere is now and will continue to be a catalyst to change this dynamic.

I don't think Black women have ever in the history of this country had the voice we now have through blogging.

WE can bring attention to these things. We no longer have to wait and hope that the Reverends or the NAACP will notice our plight and speak for us.

And that is a good thing because I don't think they will.

tasha212 said...

When I first heard about these murders I was horrified. I still am. The fact that someone could put such a low value on human life that they could kill women and children over some money and weed is despicable. These men should not be absolved of their wrongdoing at all. They need to go to jail. Period. I have commented on this topic repeatedly since yesterday. In reading most people's posts I don't come to the conclusion that people are blaming the victims of this crime. However, this is how it has been interpreted. I understand that we are living in anarchy. I undersatnd that there is a war on black women. Nobody is denying this. I also understand that u can do everything right and still be targeted. I guess a lot of people like to think that there are things that can be done to protect themselves from harm. Cause in saying that there aren't ways to protect urself what are u supposed to do, just stand there and wait for bad things to happen? If that's the case, then don't lock ur door before u go to bed; don't lock ur car before u go in the store; go to the big city and wear ur nicest jewelry so someone can mug u.

With that said, I do agree that there is a tendency in the black community to find fault in the victim, especially when black men are involved. If u've ever read Pearl Cleage's books, she has a character called Blue Hamilton who "gets rid of" men who have become predators to the community. I don't think anyone would agree with his methods. However, its the idea that after you've committed such heinous crimes against the community such as rape and murder u don't deserve to be in the presence of decent people. U are no longer acceptable. Maybe we should start adapting this attitude.

bradski said...

Wasn't Genarlow Wilson the kid who had sex with another kid consensually but got tossed in jail?

Tami,

I disagree with you including him in the list of scumbags. A seventeen year old and 15 year old having consensual sex does not equate with some murdering or raping another human being! Two years' difference in age does not make for an abusive or monstrous relationship.

If Wilson had been 19 or 20, then things would be sketchy but there's not much difference between the mindset of a 15 and 17 year old. Go to any high school in America and you will find many kids with the same age difference dating (and having some kind of sex).

Did he make a bad decision? Yeah. But he wasn't a monster.

The reason why people react strongly in his favor is the obvious fact that shortly after his conviction the state of Georgia decriminalized sex between teens within that same age group.

Prosecutors fought against his release. His case stank of injustice.

I don't believe that there is a save the "Black man at all cost" mindset in our society. Quite the opposite: there are more factors working against "Black" men.

You've mentioned a few high profile cases. But how do they show a trend? Where is your statistical evidence?

I think the two druggies who killed those women and children should be locked away forever. They are evil. Case closed.

And no, I don't like the whole thing about women's missteps ameliorating the sins of their victimizers. That's the old "because she was wearing a short dress she was asking for it" crap.

Frankly, I'm tired of "personal responsibility" being used as a code words for "who cares if some is poor, is raped, blah, blah"; that phrase is used to as either assuage feelings of guilt or allow unjustified criticism.

Tami said...

MDC,

I think you are right. There is definitely a shift in how the community is approaching its problems, and new media is helping to drive that shift. One thing it has done is add new voices to the discussion that have been traditionally shut out by mainstream media.

Tasha,

I don't disagree with you that there are things that we can all do to keep ourselves safe. Bad decisions can most definitely get you hurt...or worse. We should be counseling young girls to take responsiblity for themselves. The women at Hovey St. made grave mistakes and paid dearly for them. It just seems to me that the immediate reaction to hearing about the violent murder of two women shouldn't be to tick through the things the victims did wrong. Consider when Natalie Holloway went missing. Though it was clear that this young girl had gone off with boys who she didn't know well, that was not the focus of discussion.

Bradski,

Remember, before Genarlow Wilson received oral sex from the 15-year-old girl, he and his friends raped the intoxicated and disoriented 17-year-old girl in the hotel bathroom. It was the 17-year-old that originally brought the case to the authorities, but after being ostracized and receiving death threats she declined to testify. The police then turned to the case of the 15 year old who "consented" but was underage.

I agree that our society as a whole does not value black men, and I think the black community compensates for that by excusing negative behavior.

No statistical evidence, just my observations. I think the high profile cases that I mentioned provided public examples of something that goes on in the black community all the time.

SheCodes said...

Bradski,

You don't know the whole story. There was a lot of spin doctoring going on about the Wilson case.

The 15 old agreed to sexually service a group of older boys, after viewing the pull a train on an unconcious girl who was locked in the same room with them. Then they picked up her naked body, dumped her in the bathroom, closed the door, and surrounded the 15 year old.

She did what she had to do.

Oh yeah, one of these wonderful boys impregnated a 12 year old girl AFTER their arrests for this incident. They are sexual predators and nothing else.

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