A few weeks ago Washington, D.C.’s African-American community was suffering the collective pain of at an alarming, seemingly unprecedented increase in the number of young black girls reported as missing. No Amber Alerts, no news features on television; nothing. D.C. police insisted that the rate missing black children had not increased. However, their statistics did not stem the wave of collective fear and resentment in the black community. History renders this skepticism a rational response.
This is not the first time in the history of blacks in American that the disappearance of black men, women and children has been disregarded, ignored deemed unimportant.
How long will the “disappearing” of black folk be go unnoticed? Since the moment the first Africans were shackled and led into the cargo holds of slave ships, we have been disappearing. We disappeared from African villages. We disappeared into the depths of the Atlantic as we jumped overboard to escape unspeakable deprivation. We disappeared at the hands of brutal slave owners and overseers when they beat us to death as we labored. We disappeared in harrowing, desperate attempts to escape captivity. We disappeared at the hands of lynch mobs. We disappeared in fires that ravaged our farms, homes and businesses stripping us of our assets if we dared to achieve affluence. We disappeared fighting wars for a nation that did not acknowledge our service in defense of this country. We disappeared as we were consumed by heroin, crack and AIDS. We disappeared into poverty in the oblivion of the new “underclass.” The silence in response is deafening.