What We MUST Learn From the Murders of Britney Cosby and Crystal Jackson

March 18, 2014

I know, with certainty, that my father would not murder me.

Earlier this month, police discovered the bodies of 24-year-old Britney Cosby and her same-sex partner, Crystal Jackson, dumped like so much rubbish outside a Texas convenience store.  Authorities later arrested Cosby’s father, James, a registered sex offender who lived with Cosby and her grandmother. While details and a motive for the killings are not entirely clear, family members have said that Cosby disapproved of his daughter’s “lifestyle.”

Trying to wrap my mind around this particularly heinous act of domestic violence (or, rather, trying not to think about it), my thoughts kept returning to my own large Southern Black family. While I can say with confidence that none of my kin would kill me for my sexuality — for that’s the implication in the Cosby-Jackson murders — or any other reason, I’ve also heard too many kitchen-table comments about “lifestyle” from relatives and too much snickering about that one who “had sugar in his blood.” All this in a clan that’s chockablock with gays on the family tree, but has operated under our own suffocating “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Violence doesn’t always have to be physical.


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