Again. And Again. And Probably Again.

Regardless of the trial’s outcome, Jordan Davis is still dead. Regardless of how much time Michael Dunn receives for having been found guilty on three attempted murder charges, Jordan Davis is still dead. Regardless of our inability to understand how one can be found guilty of attempted murder but jurors be unable to determine if he intended to murder, Jordan Davis is dead. Dead. Gone, shot, murdered, for listening to music too loud for another human’s liking.

Another boy.

Another black boy.

Dead.

And it will continue to happen because our collective respect for human life continues to deteriorate. But more than that, the fear of black boys and men, the assumption that every black boy and man is dangerous, up to no good, a villain, has to stop. And yet, how? How do we do that? How do we make that perception go away? Historically, this is how it goes. This is how irrational, unjustifiable fear persists. Intrinsic to the continuation of death by being black is the unblack man’s indisputable belief of his superiority. That is ever present. Until we change that, nothing else will change.

jordandavis

I can teach my son how to not act like a threat when pulled over, when stopped in a store or walking down the street, when applying for a job. I cannot teach my son how not to be brown.

In regard to the Dunn case, do the circumstances even matter anymore? Can we forget about music or Skittles and focus on the basic issue of you are a black boy who deserves no better treatment than to be gunned down in the street? It’s pointless for us to discuss gun laws, it seems. Pointless, it seems, to discuss gun laws in relation to crimes against black boys. What about gun laws in relation to crimes against black boys WHO ARE UNARMED? Sure, I know guns alone aren’t the problem. But guns in the wrong hands, guns for the wrong reasons — when is the right reason? When is it logical for an ordinary person to simply ride around with a gun? What amount of potential trouble is suspected? Don’t give me the line about your right to carry a weapon. You have a right to carry it. You do not have the right to suspect that a black boy, regardless of his taste in music or preference in decibel, deserves the gun used against him. You do not have the right to follow someone just because you believe him suspicious. What makes him suspicious to begin with? It’s not where he is or what he’s doing or listening to. It is him. It is his color.

What happened doesn’t matter. Who said what to whom doesn’t matter. The outcome is what matters. The gun’s presence is what matters. Those seconds  between an argument escalating and your reaching for a gun is what matters. It matters at a gas station, walking down the street, even in a movie theatre. Have we lost all semblance of presence of mind, the ability to assess and react appropirately? Are we so determined to be right? Are we so uncaring that we will take another person’s life because that person refuses to bend to our will? What happened to shaking our heads, flipping the bird and driving away? Are we too good for that now? We have to show our control?

I feel like we’re spinning our wheels, locked in place. We move forward and then stupidity and egos has us playing a dangerous game of Trouble. The wrong roll of the di can send you back so many spaces. We like to claim that this is just the way Florida works, that Florida is an anomaly. We like to think that Florida’s denizens’ thoughts and feelings are so far removed from the people who live next to us, who think that black people, black boys, are dispensable, troublemakers that deserve to die. We like to pretend that Florida is different, removed from the masses. But listen. Racial profiling exists outside of Florida. Ignorance and superiority exist outside of Florida. There is no question this pervasive mentality has to stop. At what point will it stop, though? WHO ELSE HAS TO DIE?

We can cry about the senselessness surrounding Jordan Davis’ death (for music!) and we can reflect on the hideousness of Trayvon Martin’s death (for walking, suspiciously). We can shout over the injustice of Darius Simmons’ death (his neighbor, John Henry Spooner, thought Darius had burglarized his home. Spooner shot him as Darius was putting out trash) but until we deal with the underlying perpetuation of black men deserving to be feared, we change nothing. Until we deal with the fact that guns are readily available, eagerly given (regardless of paperwork, it can still be easy) nothing will change. It makes me laugh, sardonically, mind you, to imagine a man whose record is clear of previous arrests or charges or incidents who gets a gun so easily and then has to contend with a pesky murder charge.

We can rally. We can march and protest and talk until we are blue in the face. But what remains is this: black boys are seen as robbers, murderers, pillagers, problems to be expunged. Until we change the mentality that rights are distinguishable by race, that black boys are subpar citizens who should automatically be feared, we change nothing.Until there is remorse for the murder of an unarmed teen, not anger over the loss of livelihood, the loss of one’s freedom for killing such a boy, nothing will change.

To see a parent’s face when a child is senselessly lost is gut wrenching. We have to carry that feeling around at all times, remember it when we’re in precarious situations, when sense isn’t our ruling emotion.

We have to do something else, try something else. Because what we’re doing isn’t working. Black boys, innocent black boys, are feared. And they’re losing their lives as a result.

We have to do something else.

I’ve heard it said that education is the key. But, education of whom? The black boys can be as educated as imaginable, but if they continue to be seen as black only, regardless of education, what sense does that make? If the person judging them, sizing them up, determining them worthy of being the next unfortunate headline death isn’t the one who needs to be educated, where does that leave us? Where does that leave the black MAN?

WE HAVE GOT TO DO SOMETHING ELSE.

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Comments

  1. We have to do something.

  2. You said it all. So very well.
    Just yes, yes, yes, head nodding, table thumping yes.

  3. Please keep talking about this. I mean it from the bottom of my heart.

  4. but WHAT?

  5. I can’t get my head around how this is okay, how it doesn’t provoke a reaction like yours on a massive scale. How does this stuff happening not cause people to wake up to how senseless it is?!

    Do more. In the meantime, keep writing about it.

  6. I haven’t had the heart to tell my kids about this case. They were so shocked and confused by the Trayvon Martin story and they cried and kept asking me how such a thing could happen…. And I don’t know what to tell them. I don’t know how to fix it. I’m disgusted that there are enough people in this country who think these are appropriate sacrifices to their second amendment rights to keep this insanity going. I’m sorry your son and my son will have such different experiences out in the world based purely on their differing skin colors. It’s not fair and it’s wrong. And I have no idea what to do about it because my own small part is not enough.

  7. We educate our children to not be that way. I know that isn’t enough, but it is a start.

  8. We have lost the ability to respect each other – Our fellow human beings on the planet. We do not exist in tubes, we crash and collide with each other all day, every day and this is a wonderful and marvelous thing. Bumping into another person, meeting someone, that’s how we evolve and change. It’s people who are terrified of change that I’m afraid of. The person who can’t respect the man or boy next to them, their neighbor. I don’t know how to tell someone who is afraid to stop being afraid, but it has to happen. This is just senseless. Thank you so much for writing about this so powerfully. Xo

  9. I can’t imagine losing a child in such a manner. Or a husband, father, brother. It’s senseless, and you said it all so well. It scares me though, because where do we go from here? Can we go up? Or just further back down?

  10. This breaks my heart. For those mothers and families and for our society. I hope we can change this. SO much, I hope and pray. And yes, keep talking about it!

  11. Well said, my friend. YesYesYes.

  12. I wish I had answers.

  13. My heart aches over another little brown boy like my own dying at the hands of a heartless man. I don’t have the answers, but I hugged my son that much harder last night.

  14. I believe that education must continue. Education of everyone, starting with challenging the motivation of Americans who spout “Second Amendment!” when the question of gun control comes up. Ask them why they think stockpiling ammo is a priority. I want to know what they are protecting themselves against. Are we now that afraid of our neighbors that we feel the need to kill them for arbitrary reasons? Is that what our right gets us? To proudly own and boastfully carry objects whose sole purpose is to take life away? You are so right, Arnebya. When we kill one more person just because we can, whether it’s because of their skin color or preference of music, nothing changes. We are taking leaps and bounds backwards to a place that threatens all of us despite the color of our skin or preference in music.

  15. We have to do something. I don’t know what. But I don’t want to raise my son in fear. I don’t want to raise him to always be on the defense of his life.

  16. Spot on, Arneyba. We are completely stuck with our wheels going around and around and around, like in a big mud puddle or snowbank. And I loved what you said about what happened to just giving the bird? When did it come to THIS? It’s out of control. It makes me want to crawl out of my skin.

    And I can only imagine what that unintended metaphor means to you and your son.

    Thank you for writing this, for putting it out there, and as always, saying it SO GOD DAMN WELL.

  17. Yes, we have to keep talking about this – and I’m at a loss for words, because it all doesn’t make sense. I can’t wrap my head around why this is that way, but I understand. My aunt has been married to a black man for almost 30 years and every time his job brought him from Germany back to the US he was afraid.

  18. Guns take racism and privilege and ignorance and set them a flame. I can’t help but think that many of these killers would not kill if they had to do it with their own hands. We’d still have the main underlying and overt ugliness, but maybe these children WOULD STILL BE ALIVE.

    Thank you, Arnebya.

  19. I hadn’t heard until today. Something indeed is horribly wrong, still.

  20. It starts with education of white kids.Like mine, who first noticed that other people could have a different colour skin to them at around four or five years of age (before that, they were totally colourblind).

    It takes a parent who will take the time to look that child in the eye and transmit LOVE for the differences that child sees, not FEAR.
    It takes discussion, open and frank about other differences we have – our hair, our eyes, our height, our shape, our accents, our unique abilities.
    It takes actions, not just words, that show our kids gratitude for the rainbow we see around us.
    It takes smiles and acts of respect to strangers who look nothing like ourselves. It takes teaching our children to respect themselves and to honour others.

    My kids will grow up, as I did, seeing human differences as new and beautiful dimensions in their world. My kids will never look down on anybody, nor will they fear anybody purely based on appearance. Not if I can help it.

    I am so sorry that your kids have to grow up in a world where sick people might look at them through dirty eyes.

  21. I agree with Ann. It’s never logical for an ordinary person to ride around with a gun, in my opinion. I also believe that guns only belong in the hands of our police officers and military. It doesn’t solve the problem (I wish guns didn’t exist at all), but at least it would significantly reduce the violence in our world. Please keep writing about this. Your voice is so important.

  22. “We have to do something else!” Yes! I echo that and your frustration over all the misplaced emotions over the supplemental details to these, otherwise, blatant crimes. It’s unfortunate. So unfortunate that we are spinning our wheels on this, that the news media outlets across America are most interested, it seems, in isolating these crimes to their particular details and overlooking the over aching problem or race and perceptions of race and fear, the subjective nature of fear when rationalized through the objective power of a gun.

    Thank you for writing this. Thank you for saying this. Thank you!

  23. You write about it Arnebya and then you write about it again. And WE share your powerful words. Keep writing and we will keep sharing.

  24. You say it so well and I think it starts with parents who raise there children that we are all equal. We need to leave stereotypes in the past and just treat everyone the same.

  25. I hope you’ll keep writing like this, making us all think. I think about this, but I don’t know what to do and then I fall into apathy, which is not okay. I want to be a part of the change.

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