Anthony Stokes was killed in a car crash. He was driving a stolen car and was being chased by police. This normally wouldn’t make national news, but Anthony Stokes had health problems that put him in the national spotlight two years ago.
As a 15-year-old he was diagnosed with severe heart problems that could not be taken care of with medicine. His only chance of survival was heart transplant. Initially the hospital said he didn’t qualify for the transplant by the protocol in place. He was listed as “non-compliant”.
Race groups ran to his defense once his mother talked to the media. Stokes, according to his mother, was turned down due to behavioral issues. He had some problems in school as well as problems with the law. While his records as juvenile are sealed, the family admitted he had some issues with violence. This of course turned into a race thing. From Think Progress
Regardless of Anthony’s specific past, his story fits into a larger pattern of racially-motivated skepticism about young black men. The routine criminalization of black youth — thanks in large part to the so-called “school-to-prison pipeline,” which funnels a disproportionate number of black teens into the justice system for minor infractions — ensures that teens like Anthony are often seen as threats. And once society labels those kids as criminal, suspect, or “non-compliant,” their lives are typically considered to have less value.
Now the hospital never publicly commented on their decision, as they cannot due to HIPPA. So we only have the word of the mother of what that meant. She herself said that the worry was that he wouldn’t do the proper follow-ups and take his meds in a timely fashion. Which if you know anyone that has had an organ transplant are vital to long-term survival.
The real tragedy of this story, besides the loss of a young man, is that people who ran to defense were no where to found once he was given the heart transplant. Where were the race baiters who cried for the injustice once the camera’s went away? The SPLCwere all to willing to stand in front of the camera to use that young man for a political talking point. But after the heart transplant was completed he lost his usefulness.
If they are standing up and talking about how #blacklivesmatterwhy weren’t they giving the support that teenager so obviously needed? Where were his parents to help keep him on track? I realize that every child that goes wrong isn’t a direct relation to parenting skills. While growing up I knew a girl whose older siblings both became doctors and she was hell on wheels. Some children, regardless of the circumstances of their upbringing, turn out differently than what people would expect. But in many cases the children that do go wrong at a young age are doing so because they don’t have proper role models and a family unit that is functional.
The young man was given a second chance at life with his heart transplant. But he wasn’t given a second chance to live that life in a way that honored the donor. He was a political tool and talking point about how this country doesn’t care about young black men. While the SPLC did indeed give him a name of therapist to help him with the transition after his surgery, they did no follow-up to make sure he was actually attending.
This is one of the reasons that I can’t take these race pimps seriously. When the camera is on, they are right there to soak in their time in the media glare. But when the media hype dies down and the real work that needs to be done is beckoning, they are nowhere to be found.
I am certainly not excusing the young man, he made the choices that resulted in his death, but he isn’t the only one that deserves the blame. If the race baiters want to say that black lives matter, then they need to be in the trenches and reach out to the at risk kids that are so selfishly using to increase their own coffers.
When the black community finally has enough of the people who are using them for their own ends, maybe they will see some progress. But until then, stop telling me that I don’t think black lives matter, when you can’t do something as simple as making a follow-up phone call to see if the kid ever bothered to show up for the therapist. Stop telling me that the mother, who had no problem going in front of the camera for guilt shaming the hospital into changing protocol for surgery couldn’t do anything when the red flags were appearing everywhere, including another arrest in January of this year. That is the time that she should have gone back in front of the media and shamed all the racebaiters who said they wanted her son to have a chance at a better life but simply walked away when the real work had to be done.
Getting the transplant was the easy part. That isn’t what was going to give him a second chance at life. The second chance was seeing the error of his ways and living a life away from crime. That was going to take real work and dedication outside of the spotlight. That was the time to show that black lives matter. It is a shame that no one bothered to show up.