Antoine Smith was a handsome, brown-eyed nine-year-old ready to start the third
grade. A picture shows him in a striped polo shirt with a wry smile on his face.
In that face, we might have seen an aspiring doctor, a financial expert, a great
singer, a decorated soldier, or a future President.
Antoine was an African-American child who tragically found himself between two
street gangs. Allegedly, one of four African-American gang members fired a .380
cal pistol at him, striking his chest four times. He was pronounced dead at
Comer Children's Hospital.
His funeral at the Evening Star Baptist Church "was filled to capacity with
mourners remembering the short life of the boy who sang here with the church
The vibrant young man, Antoine Smith, third-grader-to-be, in that picture was
replaced by an inanimate "little boy in that casket dressed in white." I cannot
begin to imagine the pain and emptiness in the family and friends.
"The family and community want peace and justice," said a news report, as
certainly as Michael Brown's family (Ferguson, MO).
The Smith family had strong local support in their grief. The Brown family had
that plus the oration of Obama, a personal visit from Eric Holder, and three
White House officials at Michael's funeral.
Obama doesn't opine on the child, Antoine Smith. No administration officials
were seen at visitation; no private visits occurred with the family.
Why ignore Antoine or the other hundreds of violent deaths in Chicago this year
and not Michael Brown's. Do those lives have less value and potential than
Obama saw no political potential in the death of Antoine Smith, whereas Brown's
death had the potential to be a political crisis, not to be wasted by Obama.
This is racism.