By: Eris Zion Venia Dyson
I was devastated last night. I laid in my bed, fighting back tears, to frustrated to eat, watch the All-Star Weekend festivities, or even conjure up enough strength to get an episode of House of Cards in. My fiancé saw that I was inconsolable. I had to sit with the Michael Dunn verdict on my heart.
Today I sat in the car in the parking lot of a grocery store with my sister after church. She told me that she was waiting to hear about my reaction to the Michael Dunn verdict last night. She wasn’t sure if I had heard the word or not… until she saw my post that said:
- I’m angry.
- I’ll probably never participate in a march again. They’ve out-stayed their welcome, are ineffective, and rarely solve anything in the 21st century.
- I just had a conversation with my womb about ‘Y’ chromosomes. And to think twice about bearing black boys on this soil.
- It’s been a long time since I’ve tried to scrub the blackness off my flesh. I may try tonight.
- I rarely approach things I fear.
- I’m not changing my profile pic. (Refer to #3)
- White people should talk to white people about how they as a community innately fear blackness.
We spoke candidly about our confusion, about our fear for my nephew (her son) who was sleeping soundly in the back seat. We rolled through the verdict out loud to see if we had missed something. Dunn had been convicted in three counts of attempted murder, but when it came to Murder in the First Degree, the jury could not come to a consensus.
So my sister, Eriane Dyson, said, “he’s going to jail, not because he killed Jordan Davis, but because he DIDN’T kill the other three boys in the car.”
Well I’ll be damned. It makes perfect sense. Michael Dunn is going to jail for doing a half assed job of executing Black youth. Had the other three died, Dunn would be a free man right now!
Dunn said… “My intent was to stop the attack, not necessarily end a life, it just worked out that way.” I keep staring at that phrase “ not necessarily.” Some of the synonyms for necessarily being: unavoidably, inevitably, certainly. But when you pick up a gun, decide to fire it, the inevitable indeed happens.
Dunn didn’t shoot warning shots into the ground, or into the air. Dunn didn’t engage in fisticuffs. He sprayed a vehicle with bullets, gingerly left the scene all the while patting his self on the back for teaching those Black boys a lesson.
The lesson “worked out that way” because the American curriculum states that Black bodies have no value.
Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams makes it plain by saying “[Black men are] victims of a fantasy. This fantasy of what the Black body does and can do has become more importantly than the reality and we pay for it with our lives.” He goes on to say: “The idea of feeling threatened is not the same thing as being threatened. We pretend that it is, but it’s not.” And finally for those who keep saying this isn’t a “race thing” Williams states: “This idea of having to explain why it’s racial, while we’re standing in our own blood is silly. It’s racial because it doesn’t happen to White people.”
And to white people, and maybe some people of color who may be seething at this particular narrative, the solution is not being “color-blind”. I need you to see us. See these young Black boys with their black skin who wear their pants off their asses, blasting their music, freaking their black & mild’s, standing in line for Jordan’s, head phones on, rattling off curse words and “nigga” as they please… I want you to see them. Acknowledge them. Love them. Lift them up. Let them be who they are.
Believe it or not they are not, nor have they ever been the problem.
Imagine the outcome had Michael Dunn walked up to the young men and said, “Hi, excuse me. Could you turn your music down a little bit, I’m having a hard time hearing mine. Thanks so much! Have a great day!”
When you acknowledge the humanity of a person, chances are their humanity acknowledges you as well. And if your idea of humanity doesn’t include a person because of characteristics that you deem “uncomfortable” maybe it’s you that missing the humanity.