Rinku Sen of Colorlines
Comments on Melissa Harris Perry 2/16/14
We are still debating whether or not race is a factor in this case and in this trial. As long as we are debating that, we cannot get to the discussion of how race is a factor. The problem with the way the prosecution has carried out both of these trials (Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin murders), by refusing to put race on the table, they enable the bias that “stand your ground” codifies to continue to remain invisible and unclear and hidden.
What Michael Dunn expected from that interaction with Jordan Davis was not respect, but submission.”Stand your ground” laws codify the expectation of submission from young black people to white men. By not raising that at all, the prosecution enables that expectation to remain as an unwritten rule embedded into “stand your ground” laws.
Unless were going to deal with that in the course of “justice being carried out”, then we’re never going to get to the racial dimensions of the law and system and the racial dimensions of the shooters intentions. I think fighting “stand your ground” laws is the anti-lynching movement of our time.
That’s the way that we have to think about what is required to have Americans think and understand what is going on underneath those laws and develop the will to take them down.
Rinku referred to the following blog during her remarks on the Melissa Harris-Perry show.
How Keeping Our Sons Safe Makes It OK for Whites to Be Racists
The Jordan Davis case led some parents to give their kids “the talk.” But doing so absolves white people of their responsibility to unlearn stereotypes that scare them.
By: Tonyaa Weathersbee Posted: Feb. 12 2014 Roots
The slaying of 17-year-old Jordan Davis by a white man who didn’t appreciate his taste in music had some black people scrambling to give black boys “the talk” about how not to scare white people into shooting them.
The Rev. John Guns, pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., was one of them.
Using the trial of 47-year-old Michael Dunn—who, on Nov. 23, 2012, fired nine bullets into the SUV that Jordan and two of his friends were sitting in after he argued with the teens over loud music—as a launching point, Guns talked to black boys about the importance of not exacerbating trouble with people who might be threatened by them and their skin.
At one point Guns brought a young man up on the stage who was wearing a hoodie—which Trayvon Martin was wearing in February 2012 when he was stalked and fatally shot by George Zimmerman—and told him that whenever he walked inside a store, he needed to take the hood off. Better to walk out of the store, he said, than to wind up being killed at age 18 for … well, scaring some squirrelly store owner into thinking you were there to rob the place.
To be sure, Guns’ advice is sound and pragmatic—and a lot of black parents who love their children are probably repeating it. I understand it.
But I don’t like it.
I don’t like it because as practical as it is, it inadvertently feeds the notion that black youths, and black males in particular, ought to capitulate to racist whites in order not to suffer at their hands.
And any white man who believes that black kids ought to turn down their music because he doesn’t like it, even if they are only sharing the same parking lot for a few minutes, isn’t seeking respect.
He’s expecting submission.
Any white store owner, or night watchman, who expects a black youth to take off his hood because it scares him, even though that black youth has no plans to do anything scary, isn’t asking for respect but for his irrational fears to be coddled.