I want to bring attention to a case that I have been following for the last few days. Several days ago, September 3 to be exact, an 8 year old black boy named Donald Maiden, Jr. was outside playing with friends.
When Maiden came running in the house, his jaw was hanging from his face and blood was everywhere. Maiden had been shot in the face by 46-year old Brian Cloninger in his La Bella Palms apartment complex. “Yes, I shot that boy.” Cloninger allegedly said.
If Brian Cloninger were black and from Chicago, we would immediately claim this as an instance of “black-on-black crime” and pose questions like: When will we stop attacking our own children and killing our own kids? Those are important questions that deserve not only answers, but resolutions to the circumstances that make it difficult for black children to walk to school or even play outside in their own neighborhoods.
But, Brian Cloninger was white and La Bella Palms was not in Chicago, it was in Dallas, Texas. This was not a case of a violent act being committed by a black man, although that conversation seems to be the only one we can have when black people are the victims of violence. Will we allow the conversation of this case to shift, as we have with Trayvon Martin (See posts: From Don Imus to Zimmerman: Tracing Conversations of Race & Victimization and The Last Word: President Obama’s Statement on Trayvon Martin), or will we engage the issue of acts of violence against black children by white offenders?
At this point, police officers are unable to determine the motive behind why Cloninger shot Maiden, but I cannot help but to wonder if he was playing his music too loud like Jordan Davis? Or, was he WWB (walking while black), like Trayvon Martin?
If only Donald Maiden had his Freedom papers, maybe then he would be considered free to play in his own neighborhood (See: Stephanie Jones-Rogers’ If Only Trayvon Had Freedom Papers).