Oakwood University Student Turns Anger into a Book

Author Makayla Mattocks is in her third year at Oakwood University, where she is working toward her goal of becoming a New York Times bestselling author. Last year, she published her first book called What We Fight For, available on Amazon. She tells Spectrum about the inspiration behind the book and why she wrote it with both a Black and a white audience in mind.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/interviews/2023/oakwood-university-student-turns-anger-book

In 2020 about 10,000 total black people were murdered. In comparison, About 225 were killed by police and of those about 20-25 were unarmed.

I have yet to hear a single black person express outrage or anger for a single one of those 10,000 murdered black people, most of which were killed by other blacks.

To be clear, I don’t mean that there is no place for protesting an injustice perpetrated by law enforcement. However, 100% of the attention and anger is directed to 2% of the deaths. It’s also never mentioned that African Americans make up 13% of the population but commit 50% of the murders in the USA. And police also kill more whites than blacks. I know proportionate to populations more blacks are killed but how many names do we know of any whites killed by police? Not a single one.

Covering only one side completely distorts the magnitude of the problem. 100% of articles, news stories, protests etc are for the 20-25 killings while the 10,000 go completely unnoticed.

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What makes “death by cop” particularly egregious is the motto of law enforcement - “To protect and serve”. True they may make up only a small portion of the total murders but death at the hands of the police, those sworn to protect us. The people we are told as youngsters to call if we are in trouble. Death by their hands is the opposite of what you would expect, regardless of the circumstances.


This comment demonstrates an utter lack of understanding about news and journalism.

The talking heads’ job is sensationalism.

What ever facts, information, morality, justice, goodness, evil, etc., exist in the world are secondary to keeping as many people as possible glued the their disturbing pictures and scary words for as long as possible.

When one understands their motto “If it bleeds, it leads!” one cannot argue with old John Prine’s lyrical wisdom:

Blow up your TV throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try an find Jesus on your own

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Congratulations are in order to Makayla for tackling writing a book. I do have a concern that she is turning her anger into a career rather than venting through her book.

As I read her list of injustices I’m taken back to my school days, when I heard the “I Have a Dream” in real time, and witnessed Selma on the news. I’m afraid we have forgotten that both black and white fought together for justice. More currently, we were all horrified as George Floyd died in the street, but were relieved as justice was served, but disappointed as it spawned many other injustices that have never been addressed.

I feel bad for Makayla that she hopes to battle all these injustices as a life-long career. We know injustices will never disappear by going back and pulling them out of context. But more to the point, injustice will not disappear until we become reflectors of the love and acceptance we purportedly have through the Gospel.


I agree 100% with the assessment of the media. I disagree that I don’t understand lol

But not only is it ratings it’s also an ideological bias as many in media are very politically “left” and this aids their side’s arguments for certain societal changes. Like no bail or not prosecuting “minor” crimes or releasing convicted prisoners.


People were horrified a George Floyd’s death on two levels. One group was horrified thinking how can this happen, Didn’t we “solve” injustice. The other group were horrified thing that could be me…


I get that. And I’m not saying let’s ignore the issue. We should be upset about injustices. We do need to look for reforms and hold them accountable. But I’m saying why isnt the black community and especially the black leaders outraged by the enormous amount of black people killed each year?

It seems to me that they are looking to keep the black community angry at the police because they don’t want to actually look at how to resolve the killings among their community because it’s easier to protest a cop than to protest those in your own community that are destroying it.

Yes, I’ve wondered that. I don’t know if it’s apathy, resignation, or lack of information about how bad it is. It’s actually really bad when you look at the numbers:

I got these numbers for homicides from the CDC and reformatted them and added some calculations. The data is sorted by the Per 100k column and worse-than-average outcomes are highlighted. I added precision to % values that otherwise rounded to 0%:

Of the 26,031 homicides in 2021 - the most recent year available - black people suffered 56% of the homicides while they made up just 14% of the population. That’s 4.1 times the average.

It gets even worse when you break the numbers down by gender:

Black males are just 7% of the population but suffer 48% of the homicides, 7.3 times the average.

Even black women are slightly above the average, while women overall are way below average.

In stark contrast to black men, Asian women, at the bottom of the table, are really good at not getting killed. Their rate is just one tenth of the average. With about half the population of black men, 112 of them were killed compared to 12,476 black men. Maybe someone should ask them how they do it?

If it’s true that most of the murders of black men are by black men (I have heard it is but didn’t find any data today), it may well explain some things, such as why there is little political will to do anything about it.

Given that black men are just 7% of the population, and ~half the murders are in that small population, it’s easy enough to ‘other’ them, or to not see the problem at all because it’s ‘somewhere else’.

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Found this

Which lists 88% of African American are killed by other African Americans. Which is not surprising, most whites are killed by other whites, most Hispanics are killed by other Hispanics, murder is overwhelmingly intraracial.

Which I agree is part of the reason why outside the black community we don’t hear about it. BUT that is why I’m really disappointed by black leaders who ignore this fact and focus all their attention to police killings.

My opinion is that if more focus was put on this fact then it would undercut their argument that systemic racism is the biggest threat to the African American community. And people would expect the black community to make changes within itself and that would mean they (black leaders) would be held accountable and that undermines the leader’s argument that all the ills of the black community are caused by white racism.

Even if the focus turned to black deaths at the hands of other blacks, the leaders would still argue that it was due to white systemic racism and that’s a much tougher argument to make. IMHO

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Some suggested reading by a person of knowledge regarding racism and the police.

Systemic racism does play a part. If you are being chased, threatened or murdered by anyone, who ya gonna call? Not Ghostbusters, and not the police (if you don’t trust them). Why would you call the police for help if you thought “the cure could be worse than the disease.”
Until the perception that the police are just as dangerous to a black man as the person murdering him is addressed, nothing will change. Until the perception that the police are “permissive” of black on black violence is addressed, nothing will change.
There are many examples of reality not equalling the perception and they need to be highlighted and told, and retold.


Is racism only applicable to what dates back to the cotton and tobacco fields of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the American south… Modern culture is entirety dependent on global racism and child slave labor. All those iphones and tablets we stare at 24/7; and the electric cars we’re touting in the name of environmental responsibility come from the cobalt mine fields of the Congo, where young children sit and count bushels of cobalt all day for $2.00 a day and a cup of water. If quotas are not met, they don’t eat. Modern man. both white and black, can’t wait for the next version of the Apple or some other cool phone to be revealed, with not a glancing thought for where it comes from; and who’s human rights are being violated. Now there’s a cause to get behind!


one way to look at this question may be the way Blacks tend to look at it, which is that Black on Black crime doesn’t awaken echoes of the century long ordeal of slavery America’s Blacks passed through in the same way that White on Black crime does - or crime from the hand of authority figures, even when these authorities are Black themselves…slavery is a wound that, two centuries later, hasn’t healed…the fact that so much time has passed, and yet society is still dealing with the aftermath of slavery, is a testament to how truly horrific it was…little did Whites understand what they were nurturing at the time…

a similar situation exists in S. Africa…we can say that 45yrs of oppression, that ended 30 yrs ago, is behind us, and S. Africa’s Blacks should move on already, but this isn’t how these things resolve…possibly centuries must still pass, together with massive reparations, before Blacks in either America or S. Africa will be able to look at things outside of a slavery/apartheid lens…

I agree, if African American youth are told over and over again that they are being hunted by law enforcement then that will impact their interactions with police and lead to distrust, hate, etc. all of which hurts minority communities even more.

It’s difficult to control this human tendency but I wish we could agree that although there are steps we can take to improve policing, they are not hunting blacks. Perception is indeed reality but I think the African American leaders need to help in this and they are doing quite the opposite and feeding terror and hate for police whenever they can .

Yeah I agree, it’s not easy to undue the past even if the numbers today do not justify the dread of law enforcement.

I didn’t say it’d be easy or that I blame the black community, but what I do expect is the black leaders not use each instance of violence by police as evidence that all blacks need to be afraid of cops because they are basically being “hunted”. Which is a word I’ve heard often. The leaders are feeding the narrative and exploiting it to keep the community beholden to them as their only source of hope. Even though I don’t think the leaders are offering much hope. As a matter of fact they are keeping black poeple back by feeding into this exaggerated narrative

Until we have walked in another’s shoes…


Source/sources, please post your facts for the statement.

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i suspect effective leaders are those who read a crowd correctly, and are able to articulate what they know that crowd wants to hear and feel…i don’t think the Black community is feeling what its feeling because of anything their leaders are saying…i think the leaders are saying what they’re saying because they know what the black community is feeling…

it’s just a fact that the feeling of always being on the short end of the stick with respect to discrimination is being regularly reinforced by high profile police killings of Black individuals, which is actually on the increase over the past two yrs:

i don’t think we can say that Black crowds feel the way they do for no reason, or because their leaders are unscrupulous…


I’ve heard it said many times in tv which I cannot get a copy of a transcript but here is one famous example. And yes I consider him a leader of the black community and he has a ton of influence in young blacks. So if I’m a young African American in a poor neighborhood and my hero says that not even he feels safe then what chance do I have. If he feels this then I’m gonna feel hunted too…which the statistics don’t bare out at all.