Violence in black culture

Steven Harbaugh

Candice Poole, junior biology major and Zeta Phi Beta sister, watches Kent State alumni Darron Henderson, DJ Lo-key, speak to students about black-on-black violence at last night’s BUS meeting. Poole came because “there are a lot of issues between groups

Credit: Andrew popik

Bumping rap music, gyrating bodies and alcohol create a perfect mix for violent altercations to occur at a club or party.

That is what Darron Henderson, or DJ Lo-Key, who is a Cleveland resident and Kent State graduate, has witnessed in his experience deejaying club events and parties.

According to Henderson, he has witnessed between 200 to 300 fights within the last two years.

Henderson and Teddy Harris, political affairs chair for Black United Students, led a panel discussion titled, “Black on Black Violence: Why do we hurt each other?” at 7 p.m. last night in the Mbari Mbayo Lecture Hall to a crowd of about 20 people.

Harris said he thought of the idea for the forum when he saw a “Dateline” special on violent athletes following basketball player Ron Artest’s much-publicized fight. During the special, the featured athletes on the program were all black men.

Harris said this was wrong because he thought the media was showing a disproportionate amount of black people and not including sports with a lot of fights between white people like hockey, rugby and soccer.

“When you’re part of a small group, the majority will look at that one person and think that’s how all people in that small group act,” Harris said.

Henderson said he doesn’t think liquor is the problem because he has seen many fights occur even at venues without alcohol.

He also said he has seen fights start for a variety of reasons, from stepping on tennis shoes to exchanging looks.

Keith Roberts, senior communication major, who admits to getting into some fights when he was younger, said he thinks the reason black people get in fights is because of cliques. Despite the sense of community formed within the black population, he said he still thinks the black community is divided between cliques split between fraternity members, athletes and other social groups.


This aids the hostile environment for black violence.

The majority of the fights Henderson sees while deejaying actually involve women.

“It used to be guys, but it seems like females are on the rise,” he said. “I’d say three or four out of every five fights involve females.”

This observation shocked many attendees based on their reactions.

Nyana DeJarnette, junior communication major, said she thinks it’s because people at clubs and parties think they are safer when they are amongst large groups of people and feel a sense of security.

Harris said people need to view violent acts by black people as individual and not as a representation of all black people.

“My grandma used to tell me,” Harris said, “we as black people have to be twice as good.”

Contact religion and culture reporter Steven Harbaugh at [email protected].