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Big, shiny, expensive and freshly waxed vehicles will flicker in the sunlight to the cadence of Jay Z, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj obnoxiously blaring from their speakers.
Adolescent girls will show off body parts that should remain exclusively for showers. They will parade around with babies joined at their hips while gossiping incessantly about their multiple sexual encounters. They will nonetheless affirm stereotypes of ignorance and misogyny while catering to the ill-natured misconceptions of black male masculinity.
And someone will die.
Summer is almost here.
Someone will die at the hands of a boy or man who was never taught how to love or express his concerns in more edifying ways. Someone will be a victim of heinous terrorism that rings at the blast of an assault rifle because of black and brown men’s frustration with society.
This deep identification with masochism interwoven with second-class citizenship will cause him to measure himself against the cloudy-white newness of Airforce One’s and pearly plain white T-shirts. He will crotch grab, spit, cuss and drink in the blaze of corner assembly — all before the police cuff him.
The police will patrol in search of someone “fitting the description”. They will probably hug their children a little harder before work in case they don’t make it home. Wives of these street soldiers in urban combat will increase the pleas in their prayers to bring him back safely.
Some of these officers will knowingly shoot first and ask questions later in fear of missing their families. Detectives will once again investigate murders and inform families of the deceased amid the scorching brimstones of hoods across America. Emergency sirens will pierce birthday celebrations and block parties, and mothers will make funeral arrangements.
Some mothers will unknowingly, before the summer is out, bury their sons. They will pick out a suit while his friends imprint his picture on a T-shirt. Funeral parlors will go into a peak season. Hospital emergency rooms will be littered with visitors of multiple families sharing in the same catastrophes.
Tears will fall, but life — the same happenings — will continue. This is the summer’s tale of the inner city. It is an almost exclusive occurrence where impoverished people struggle to ascertain the value of human life.
My summers in the Austin area of Chicago’s West Side were filled with this. I cannot celebrate the arrival of summer knowing that many of my brothers will die.
Sure, I will go to the annual Blues Festival in Grant Park, take in a movie at River East 21 and scour through my reading list, but I will not pretend as if these atrocities do not take their toll.
Newspapers will report on the most brutal occurrences; a local preacher will protest. But neither will offer solutions. Summer should symbolize the contrast of winter’s grasp, but the cause for celebration is often at the cost of lives for many black and Latino men.