12.02.2006

A Dream Deferred

I am floored, heartbroken for the family and especially the mother who is one of the sweetest women I've ever met. People in my old neighborhood who were close to this family tell me that the father and son often fought over the son's grades, his expensive lifestyle (while refusing to get a job), and his future. A friend of the mother said that she recently mentioned that their sons "were giving them so much trouble". But nothing else seemed unusual.

I know tragedies like this know no color boundaries. Still, I wonder if the added burden of our race heightens the pressure to succeed. Is the average middle-class black father's pressure to raise a responsible son great enough to lead to something like this?

7 comments:

Christopher Chambers said...

I am not "siding"with anyone in a tragedy that has no sides or angles, nor am I playing Devil's Advocate lightly, as no one should for lawyering in Lucifer's behalf, but consider this: when our kids get among white kids as they move up through high school and into college, often they see a strange cultural dichotomy. Even white parents of modest means are sacrificing for their kids (and yes, indulging them) and not asking for much in return, including inchoate things like "being more responsible." Someof our folks haven't adapted their blue collar sensibilities to a Treo and ipod based white ollar world. Indeed too many of us, especially in our parents generation spilling to ours, have hit the other side of the coin--wretched excess and spending, no saving. We haven't hit an equilibrium I guess. It'll likely be easy, behind closed doors or at the dinner table, to dismiss this kid as a spoiled lazy Gen Z product of the current culture. I think it's a lot more complicated. But Lord, even if he were a crackhead stealing his parents' TV, dad didn't need to kill him, and clearly dad had severe mental issues that have gone unchecked and enabled, perhaps by his wife. That is a hars thing to say, but murdering your child and then kiling yourself begs that harsh examination on many levels.

Christopher Chambers said...

P.S. I have no doubt that Dick Wolf's writers have now digested this and you will see this tragedy regurgitated on Law & Order or Law & Order Criminal Intent...

Keith said...

Yes the pressure to raise a responsible son is greater for black folk, but no it isn't great enough to lead to murder. Sadly the father was disturbed and needed help, but he took the life of his own flesh and blood and that is never a "parenting option." Put the kid on the street, make him join the military, get a counselor, anything but this. I pray for the surviving family, especially the young man that lost a brother and a father in one felled swoop; my heart goes out to them. (BTW - Mr. Chambers suggesting that the wife may have been "enabling" her husband prior to his psychotic break is unconscionable and thoughtless. In these instances where black lives have been shattered we should all try to limit our comments to the actual evidence and forego wild speculations.)

Christopher Chambers said...

I was just playing Devil's Advocate (and wasn't doing it lightly)and I know it seemed terribly harsh. I apologize for getting too crazy.

However, I know I'm not a shrink, but I can't see how this kind of an act could be sudden and out of the blue. There had to be some manifestation prior to this, and his wife is the closest person to him (theoretically).

Tom L said...

do not keep a gun or allow a gun in your house, whatever your color, because with a gun it is just so easy to kill. this reminds me of the marvin gaye situation. no way without a gun these people end up dead. injured maybe, wounded ... but still alive most likely.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I feel for that family. I remember reading Spike Lee drew from the Marvin Gaye death for the Gator story line in Jungle Fever.

I can't imagine being so disappointed, frustrated or angry with a family member that I would want to kill them. His poor wife will have to bury her husband and her son. Sad.

Aly Cat 121 said...

Dayum the book "Sula" popped into my head when I read this article. Remember the part in the book when Sula's grandmother burned her soon in his bed cuz "he was tryna crawl back into her womb"? Basically she killed him cuz of his severe heroin problem. And as another poster commented about Marvin Gaye's father killing him. Makes you wonder. . . .