Where is Gun Control for Black Children? by Hanifah Jones 

Where is Gun Control for Black Children? by Hanifah Jones 

When you think of summer you may think of warm breezes, the melody of ice cream trucks and family cookouts. But for many, summertime comes with a predetermined danger as children are forced to decipher whether the popping noise they hear down the street are the results of fun firecrackers, or deadly gunshots.

As the conversation of gun control increases in the wake of the Parkland shootings, it is important that we remember the underrepresented narrative of black children. Growing up in Philadelphia, shootings were nothing out of the ordinary. From a very young age children of color living in urban communities are taught the difference between fireworks and gunshots and what streets to stay away from after dark.  

Black children are often the victims of gun violence, yet they are underrepresented in conversations about gun control reform. According to the CDC, Black children are ten times more likely to be killed by guns than their white counterparts. 

Black on Black crime is a term that is often thrown out in the media, often used to deflect from the reality of systemic racism and police brutality. However, it continues to be an issue that haunts the Black community. I can’t remember the first time someone I knew was murdered by gun violence. As I grow older, the numbers are only increasing and I can’t bear to scroll down my timeline fretting the possibility of seeing another ‘RIP’ post. 

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Conversations about gun control and gun control reform typically focus on the legal purchasing of firearms and how they are regulated. It is no secret that most guns that are involved in homicides are acquired illegally. Second, we must admit that our culture glorifies and romanticizes guns and gang culture.

With the growing popularity of trap music, lyrics vocalizing gunplay are all over. In the Q Tha Fool song “Guns N Bills”, he says “I’m a rich shooter I know you can tell”. For many inner-city youth, possessing a gun can be seen as a symbol of status which is associated with gang culture. 

This romanization of gang culture only contributes to its manifestation in our society. The growing prominence of gangs increases rates of gang violence in black communities. Black children are often caught in the cross-fire, recently, a one-year old child was shot while sitting in the car with his father. 

My question is: when will it end? At what point will we realize enough is enough. Black children deserve to be able to enjoy their summers without their parents fearing for their lives. The answer isn’t telling our children not to play at night. As a community, we should come together and do better for our children.