2.24.2014

By all means, let's bring race into it

Juror 8, who is African American, stated that she “never thought once, ’This is a black kid. This is a white guy.’” She said that the case “was about justice,” not race. When asked if race was a factor in the case, juror 4 said, “Sitting in that room, it was never presented that way.” To a certain extent, she is correct. The prosecution and the parents never discussed the huge elephant in the room, race. (Source)
Suppose a man kills his wife. During the investigation, the prosecution uncovers a laundry list of dropped domestic violence complaints filed by the deceased against the husband. The autopsy revealed fractures and a history of other "unexplained" injuries going back years.

Yet during the trial, neither the prosecution nor the jury bring up the couple's marital history. In fact, not one but two jurors say something to the effect of, "Not once did I think of the defendant of having abused his wife. All I could wonder was if he had just cause for killing her."
Although I commend jurors 4 and 8 for their commitment and fairness, I strongly reject the notion that this case was not about race. This case was about race on at least two levels. The first level is the actual crime. This case is about a racist white man who wanted to teach some young black “thugs” a lesson for not obeying his orders to turn their “thug music”. Such racial animus is further expressed in his jail letters complaining about thugs. The word “thug” is simply a more palatable word for nigger.

The second level is the verdict. Like the Trayvon Martin case, the Amadou Diallo case, the Sean Bell case, the Emmett Till case and countless other cases, the Michael Dunn case is yet another example of black man being murdered and denied justice, at least for now. If no one else was in that vehicle, Michael Dunn would be free today.

...Nonetheless, none of that matters. For some, including the three holdout jurors in this case, one white man’s testimony carries more weight than three young black men’s testimony. Unfortunately, when some white people are presented with narratives that conform to their racist stereotypes about young black men, logic is negated and discarded. If Jordan Davis was a white boy or white girl, no juror would believe Dunn’s lie about seeing a gun. Again, this case was all about race
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Not only that, but if Davis and his friends had been a bunch of a white kids blasting their music - any music - Dunn would've never approached them to begin with.

Growing in up West Virginia, I remember white kids blasting their music all day, every day from Korn to Slipknot to Eminem. In fact, I vividly recall shopping with the Red Headed Sis's mom one afternoon. Three white teenagers were actually standing outside their vehicle in the shopping plaza parking lot with their music on a sky-high, straight-up ungodly volume. They (ironically) were blasting "White America" by Eminem. And everyone was rolling their eyes and wincing, but not a single person approached the trio.  In fact, in all the time white kids blasted their music while I was growing up, not once do I recall any of them being approached.

And certainly, not of them were shot.

So I'mma say this one time: Michael Dunn is child-murdering racist.  Race factored into his actions the day he murdered Jordan Davis, so now that there are consequences for his actions, race should not be left off the table.  Race was factored into the crime; race needs to be factored into the time.

Some folks will recall the story of Doris Tate, mother of actress Sharon Tate who was murdered by the Manson Family.  When a member of the Manson Family try to weasel her way out of prison, Tate began campaigning for victims' rights, and her efforts aided the passage of the Victims' Rights Bill in California.  She was also known as the first person to give a victim impact statement under the new law.

Tate's logic was quite simple: "To all these killers who take a life/lives and then cry for mercy and leniency and try to run from responsibility, where was your mercy?  Where was your leniency?  What consideration did you give your victim when you ended their life?"

Dunn couldn't look past Davis's skin color; why should the court look past Dunn's?  By his owning writing, race wasn't off limits to Dunn when he decided to start spraying bullets.  Race wasn't the "the huge elephant in the room" then.  Race was very much on the table at that point, rocking feathers and fishnets, and can-canning for all of Jacksonville to see.

So if Angela Corey truly intends to redeem herself when going after Dunn again for Davis's murder, she better put race back up on the table.  She needs to bring up his letters.  She needs to drag his skeletons from the closet and hang them out for all the world to see.  She better subpoena friends and relatives and grill their asses on the witness stand.  If we are to truly have justice for Jordan Davis, not only does Dunn need to be convicted of the murder, but his racism needs to go on record to set an example for all who would follow in his footsteps.

By the way, quick shout-out to Wisconsin for letting John H. Spooner rot in prison for life after he shot 13-year-old Darius Simmons.  Spooner thought he was all big and bad, shooting a child in the back, gunning him down in front of his mother.  When the police arrived, Spooner was waiting on the curb.  He was upfront about what he'd done and went into police custody willingly.  But after spending a few nights in a jail cell, when reality started to set in, Spooner tried to pull a Dunn and worm his way out.  Of course, he couldn't use the self-defense argument, and the unproven theft of his guns meant nothing where a dead, unarmed child shot in the back was concerned.  So that trifling fool tried to play the insanity defense on account of his age (no doubt setting senior citizens back a decade or two in the process, by the way).  A Wisconsin jury told him, "Uh-huh...not today."

7 comments:

  1. I was just talking about this case, and observed that some white men have a very visceral fear of rap music in particular.

    A former mutual acquaintance of my husband was one of these characters and I warned my hubby that men like him were innately racist and couldn't be trusted. Initially hubby didn't want to see it as such at least not in the extreme I was painting it (then the Dunn trial happened). More on that later.

    Way back when I was a retail peon in customer service, some co-workers were closing one night (I admit I wasn't a direct witness). The floor manager who was known to be 5 short of a six pack flew into a rage over the rap music playing on the BACK ROOM RADIO out of earshot of customers. The only reason I knew of the story was a) the retelling by my coworkers b) he fully acknowledged it complete with half assed apology the next day when I was around to hear about it. He got transferred, then fired sometime later but nothing to do with the mentioned incident, he was really an incompetent hack.

    So back to mutual former acquaintance, my husband being the evil trickster he can be used to post rap/hip-hop videos on the guy's Facebook wall just to watch his blood boil. We laughed about it then, but in light of my former co-worker's reaction and Michael Dunn, he's now agreeing this behavior isn't all that funny anymore.

    I'm just curious what the heck fuels it (I mean if we were get into a full on ethnological study of it). Sure you can say "fear of black men" but I'd rather go deeper than that. Seriously, what's the trigger?

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  2. I was reading some more garbage about Dunn and let me just say that this man even makes that joker George Zimmerman look saintly.

    He was not just racist..he was very abusive. He had two Latina wives but beated the both of them. Dailymail UK said that a former neighbor of his intervened on their behalf because of it. He threatened to have them deported to their native countries (Colombia and Mexico),physically and mentally abused them ,made one of the wives perform sex acts on people at a swingers club and made a racist remark about too many Blacks and Latinos bring in the country. If that isn't racism, I don't know what is.

    Regardless of where this low life is going(hopefully to prison for the rest of his miserable life), I'm hope that we never stop pointing out the injustices with Black and other POCs .I believe they kill us out of fear, hate and to send a message but with people like Dunn, we will never tire of him. Even if we have one foot in our grave and the other one out people like Dunn should understand that nothing they do will stop Black people from seeking the truth.

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  3. To quote Public Enemy, it's fear of a Black planet. I believe that it is their ultimate fear that White supremacy will cease and that Blacks will "take over". And if that happens, they know there will be hell to pay because they've shitted on all POC, but Blacks have been the most shitted on. So it a get-them-before-they-get me mentality.

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  4. The sense I get from these cases is that White male privilege supersedes any other consideration. Moreover, depending upon the circumstances whiteness serves as the ultimate get out of jail free card. White men Can be convicted of killing blacks -provided there are no other mitigating circumstances to say otherwise-. Yet I firmly believe that in this country a white man’s word is veritably regarded to be above a person of color’s… Period. Much like the American Bald Eagle he is a symbol of heroism; a harbinger of righteousness summed-up in the persona of an Anglo-Saxon Protestant Male.

    The fact that whites generally identify with him makes it hard to differentiate between this manufactured myth and reality. A white man knows in his heart-of-hearts all he has to say is, “I felt threatened,” and he increases his chances of beating a Stand Your Ground (or murder rap) considerably. All he need do is follow certain talking points, stay true to the script (I saw a dark object in his hand) and plead ignorance of his privilege if anyone asks. Its particularly helpful if there are no witnesses around at the time of the murder.

    Now stand your ground didn’t work in the case of Raul Rodriguez. A case that’s somewhat similar to Michael Dunn’s, partly because jurors surmised his real intent (to see what it felt like to shoot someone by baiting the party-goers) and also because the victim was a white male. People just find it hard to believe that any white man can be threatening in the same way that some characterize young black males. So the fault obviously lies with the shooter when the victim is white (they feel).

    Race had everything to do with Michael Dunn’s verdict. In a court of law we’re continually hampered by this elephant in the room, thwarted by three hundred years of conditioning where white men have subsumed a benefit of the doubt. The Law was written by them, so it follows that it should work for them. “Well if he says he felt threatened who are we do say otherwise?” To many whites a black man by very definition is threatening, so his claims to self-defense hold less weight and should be viewed with a cynical eye. “What did he do to provoke the situation” many whites will ask themselves. “It’s hard to believe he isn’t culpable in some way, looking at his rap sheet (providing he has one) he’s hardly the angel the prosecution makes him out to be.” It would seem that in a court of law, Blackness is deemed the liability- while whiteness is viewed (either subconsciously or not) as an asset. Lady Justice has long been depicted as blindfolded- with a set of scales in her right hand, yet it would seem she is neither blind nor ignorant of race when it comes to meting out equity. I for one am convinced she peeks from under that blindfold as the occasion merits; after all she’s white isn’t she?

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    1. Race had everything to do with Michael Dunn’s verdict.

      As always, exceptional observations. I should rephrase: Dunn's white racism, which he used as justification to engage in an illegal activity, should be placed on record. He should be outed as a white racist on record, and Corey - if she genuinely intends to redeem herself - needs make an example of him.

      What's troubling white people is the fact we don't actually care if they hate us. We don't care if they don't want to date us, marry us, or breed with us. We just want to go to work, make our money, and go home to our loved ones in peace, and that's what they can't stand - our indifference.

      Jordan Davis and his friends didn't notice or care about Dunn, but he sure as hell noticed them. He noticed them because they were blasting music while black. So he goes over to them to assert his dominance - to be noticed - and demand they turn the music down. So they do.

      What I think happened next is what often happens whenever POC are dealing with white people who want to be "noticed". The boys turned down the music, possibly apologized for being a bother, and then went back to their conversation and expected Dunn to STFU and go away. But he didn't. He no doubt had something else to say to them, possibly another demand or some self-righteous commentary on "that rap crap", and things predictably escalated from there. Dunn wasn't leaving until he was noticed and deferred to, even if he needed to spray bullets just to get those results.

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  5. "Jordan Davis and his friends didn't notice or care about Dunn, but he sure as hell noticed them. He noticed them because they were blasting music while black. So he goes over to them to assert his dominance - to be noticed - and demand they turn the music down. So they do."

    I agree.
    Except that during Jim Crow such demands by white men would have been obeyed without question- for that was a different time and we were of different temperament. So it would appear Mr. Dunn is a man out of touch with history. No longer do people of color (particularly young black males) defer… tip their hats or hang their heads in submission while in the presence of white people. No longer do we kowtow a “Yessir!” or “Yessm,” when engaged by whites. I’m sure Dunn was thinking along those lines when he asked himself, “Has the world gone Mad?”

    Times have changed and bigoted white males better get used to it. These diehards act as if all of the world’s ills can be traced back to this nation’s economically disenfranchised and the racially oppressed. Never mind the festering dysfunction that plagues White America. Our problems would clear up overnight if black men (and by extension white kids like Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber), simply stopped making/listening to rap. The inference being, these kids were above reproach until they became corrupted from listening to all that black rap. Police have all but inferred to Justin Bieber, “if you’re going to act like a black thug (you clean-cut white kid you) then we're going to treat you as such.”

    Nevertheless just think of it: No more Wars- Famine or Disease. Moreover, our economic woes would clear up overnight if we only abstained from rap music. And Global Warming? Heh, fuhgeddaboudit.

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  6. Except that during Jim Crow such demands by white men would have been obeyed without question- for that was a different time and we were of different temperament. So it would appear Mr. Dunn is a man out of touch with history. No longer do people of color (particularly young black males) defer

    The age is definitely a factor, because I have noticed that a lot of these white men are older and clearly perturbed that the old rules no longer apply. Spooner was already nearing ancient, and I can only imagine what he thought about the Simmons family living next door.

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