Ma’Khia Bryant: A Murder of An Oppressed Nation Youth Demands Real Solutions
On 20 April 2021, Ma’Khia Bryant – a 16-year-old New Afrikan girl – was murdered by a pig belonging to the Columbus Division of Police.(1) As the news of a guilty verdict on killer pig Derek Chauvin was barely starting to make news on various media, an Amerikan pig killed another New Afrikan child.(2)
At the time of the murder, Ma’Khia Bryant lived in foster care in the home of Angela Moore – the foster mother. The incident started as a conflict between a Tionna Bonner, 22 years old, a former foster child of Ms. Moore, and Ma’Khia Bryant and her younger sister Ja’Niah Bryant. The conflict was originally over housework, and how the former foster child Tionna Bonner said the Bryant children were not giving Ms. Moore the respect that was due. The dispute escalated when Ja’Niah called Ms. Moore who said she was too busy to get involved. Ja’Niah called her grandmother while Ms. Bonner called another former foster child by the name of Shai-Onta Craig Watkins. Watkins was 20 years old at this time.(3)
The grandmother of the Bryant children arrived who described the conflict. She tried protecting her grandchildren who were being threatened by the older former foster children Ms. Bonner and Ms. Watkins. By this time, Ms. Bonner had pulled out a knife (according to Ja’Niah and her grandmother) and Ma’Khia had grabbed a steak knife from the kitchen. This is when Ja’Niah called 911 to which she claimed “Angie’s grown girls trying to fight us, trying to stab us, trying to put her hands on our grandma.”(4)
The police arrived 12 minutes later. Ms. Watkins has left the house while the Bryant children began to pack up their things. The Bryant children’s father now arrived at the scene as Ms. Watkins returned with two more people. While the two groups crossed paths, Ms. Watkins spat towards the Bryant family. Ja’Niah Bryant later said, “That’s when everything just went left.”
As Ma’Khia Bryant charged, Ms. Watkins fell to the ground in which then Ma’Khia’s father tried to kick Watkins. When Ma’Khia raised her kitchen knife, pig Nicholas Reardon shot Ma’Khia four times. Ma’Khia was dead.
The activists oriented towards the recent mass movements oriented around the national contradiction pointed out on social media how the New Afrikan masses couldn’t get a single second of judicial justice from the United $tates without having another Amerikan pig take the life away from another New Afrikan. This murder was closely dated with the release of the video footage showing the murder of Mexican lumpen youth Adam Toledo who was 3 years younger than Ma’Khia Bryant. The liberals and left-wing imperialists oriented with the Democratic Party seemed too busy to pat themselves on the back in regards to the guilty verdict on Derek Chauvin that these two murders of oppressed nation youth seemed to not stay in their national headlines.
The Oppressed Nation Youth in the Foster Care System
In 2019, New Afrikan children made up 14% of the total child population in the United $tates – children ranging from ages 1 to 18 – while their euro-Amerikan counterparts made up 50%.(5) Despite the much smaller size, New Afrikan children made up 23% of the kids in foster care, much higher than [email protected], First Nations, and national minorities.(6) The number of New Afrikan foster children however, has been decreasing steadily for the past two decades with the year 2000 starting with a 39% and reaching a stabilization of 23% around 2016 up to 2019.
Throughout many different societies in the modern imperialist world there have been problems of vulnerable children; whether they be foster kids, orphan beggars, or a gang of youth thieves, crisis which inevitably comes from the capitalist relations of production will strike the youth populations as well. In the United $tates, one of the many major external factors of the oppressed nations’ material conditions in the recent decades have been the drug war. With the turn of the 1980s, the crack epidemic fueled by the alliance between the CIA and the comprador drug lords of Latin America has hit New Afrikan and [email protected] communities like a locust swarm would to a peasant’s rice field. As the drug game became more and more dangerous, the oppressed nation youth lost the little stability and the nuclear family structure that they had in the first place. The associate commissioner of the Children’s Bureau stated that “most children enter the foster care system, not from physical abuse, but from neglect.”(7) That means the primary cause of what leads New Afrikan youth to enter the foster care system is not physical and emotionally abusive parents per se, but lack of resources the family or the community around them has.
Children growing in those lumpenized households and impoverished labor aristocrat households vulnerable to lumpenization (and most importantly, surrounded by abysmal living conditions) creates a very unstable element to the country over all. So in that response, the foster system is utilized where petty-bourgeois households (many of them belonging to the oppressed nation themselves!) with the time and resource could take care of children coming from beneath their petty-bourgeois class status. Like any other institutions and systems part of the capitalist superstructure (despite its well-intended individuals), bureaucratic and profit motivated work methods poison many aspects of the foster care system. Abuse, emotional deprivation, and physical neglect reign amongst children in foster care. Just like how the police departments of every major city juke statistics and makes robberies and rapes disappear – and how the school system juke scores and encourage studying tests instead of studying fields of knowledge – foster homes oftentimes make their abuse and neglect disappear as well. Anti-communists claim that no one would work without the profit motive, and that the profit motive is the main source of good work in any society. Then how come foster parents who get paid hundreds by the government every month per child still can’t meet the emotional and physical requirement for vulnerable youth?
With the crack cocaine epidemic rising in the 1980s and 1990s, bourgeois nationalist ideas hardening the family structure of oppressed nations came to popularity. Bourgeois nationalists pointed at the lack of a nuclear family structure amongst oppressed nations, and rested the conditions of New Afrikans and [email protected] upon that point.(8) The absentee father; the drug addicted mother; the so-called “emasculated” gay man; the gangster who’s “too dumb” to use his parasitic gains to transform into a legal capitalist; and the participator of “loose sex” were seen as the reasons why New Afrikan/[email protected] youth were pulled into lumpenization and the foster care system. Maoists understand that the superstructure cannot change the economic base, and the idea of “superstructure first” will be fruitless without the overthrow of capitalism. Shaming single mothers, persecuting LGBT masses, and enabling the capitalist instincts of the lumpen class will not only fail to give us liberation, but attack the masses even more.
Socialist Handling of Unattended Youth
In the Soviet Union, revolution, counter-revolution, and world war left millions of orphans in Russia commonly referred to as “besprizornye” (literally meaning “unattended”).(9) Most of these orphans worked as beggars while also looking towards odd jobs such as selling flowers and cigarettes or hoping to work in restaurants for scraps. Competition became more fierce, and many of these orphans turned towards prostitution and thievery.(10) Gangs of orphans as large as groups of 30 came to being; alcoholism and drug abuse became a common site; and STDs, physical, and mental illness became common things associated with the unattended children.(11) From this basis came the battle for communist transformation of not only the unattended children but all children under socialism in the USSR. Revolutionary orphanages were formed, children were provided with necessities such as education while expected to help with maintaining those independent institutions and decision making. The primary split between these orphanages under socialism and capitalism was the agency and self-determination given to the orphaned youth and the question of adoption: socialist orphanages didn’t seek to put children in adoption but give them a family through the productive life of the commune. During the latter half of the 1920s, the Soviet Union succeeded in the rehabilitation of the unattended children although the goal of creating revolutionary youth movement for all youth has not been met.(12)
The murder of Ma’Khia Bryant is overlooked unfortunately by both the Liberals and the revolutionaries. As a guilty verdict has been placed on pig Derek Chauvin, liberals are eager to put a book end to the rebellion that spread across the country from 2020-2021. As Mao Zedong taught us that the masses must learn revolution through waging revolution, we emphasize the work on us that must be done in pulling the correct lessons from the period of rebellion from 2020 to 2021. Many radical Liberals are heartbroken by such morbid killing of an oppressed nation youth – a habit Amerikkka is unable to kick – and often times let the bourgeois moralism alongside catharsis get the better of them. We emphasize again the importance of learning the essence of the reality around us and the importance of serving unattended youth while combating tailist and commandist attitudes.
1. Will Wright, 8 May 2021, “Ma’khia Bryant’s Journey Through Foster Care Ended With an Officer’s Bullet,” The New York Times.
5. Kids Count, September 2020, “Child Population by Race in the United States,” Kids Count.
6. Kids Count, June 2021, “Children in foster care by race and Hispanic origin in the United States,” Kids Count.
7. Administration for Children & Families, January 15, 2020 “Child abuse, neglect data released: 29th edition of the Child Maltreatment Report,” Administration for Children & Families.
8. The New York Times, July 31, 1994, “Facing Complaints of Bias, Farrakhan Speaks to Women Only.”
9. Alan M. Ball, 1994, “And Now My Soul Hardened,” University of California Press.