Tuesday, February 18, 2014

On Murder of Jordan Davis By Michael Dunn

Apparently no one reads what I write.

 Let me explain. Recently, deeply wounded by the verdict in the trial of Michael Dunn for the murder of Jordan Davis, I posted a status on my facebook page.

I said in part: "I get daily demands as an activist. That I be a good ally to other causes. That I contribute my intellectual property, my loyalty, my time, my son's time, my family's time effort and money. Even now. Even now I'm being asked, even pressured to support things. That shows a deep lack of caring and understanding for what just happened."

I presumed, foolishly, that my colleagues might understand that this might not be an appropriate time to demand my intellectual property, my loyalty, my time, etc. It might be a good time to be an ally and go to their respective organizations and ask that they release a statement supporting justice for Jordan Davis and dismay at the human rights record in Florida when it comes to Black children. It might be a good time to mention what each social justice organization has done to fight hate crimes directed at one race. It is not a good time to ask me for even more as an activist while ignoring that there is a pattern of violence going on that perpetrators are not being held accountable for. Activists cannot make demands of me as their ally and fellow activist and do nothing about the clear and present injustice to my people before them. Yet organizations in disability rights advocacy, who want to serve and be increasingly inclusive of minority members, are silent. I will defend my son's right to self determination. But I must now wonder how I can possibly work for organizations that are not reaching out to our social justice organizations and asking how they can show a united front against this deadly trend. Because this trend, when intersected with my son's nonspeaking autism, means an even higher chance that he will become the next Stephon Watts or Jordan Davis. So this issue is something that directly affects the Black members of any disabled population and should therefore be addressed by the disability rights community in general and all autism nonprofits in particular.

What is it about facing the truth that racism is alive and well in our nation today that makes everyone who is not a person of color squirm? How many more murders will go unpunished before we look at our national reflection in the moral mirror and deal with the festering canker of discrimination oozing hatred in every corner of our country? When racist people wish to commit a hate crime these days, they have more sense than to grab Black boys off the street and lynch them. Today's mob lynching is creating any excuse to shoot them, then turning yourself in and getting away with it. Make no mistake, what happened to Jordan Davis and his three young friends was a deliberate hate crime. Swallow that bitter pill. Choke that down, and ask what can be done to turn the tide of hate.

We cannot deflect the issue of violence directed at the male members of one race by making it something else. This is not a matter of gun control. Guns are the instruments of violence alone. It is not the abuse of the Stand Your Ground law. Quite clearly approaching a car and trying to incite a reason to shoot at the teenaged passengers in it is not standing one's ground. Arguing about the volume of music in a public gas station is not standing your ground. So this is not about whether a person has a right to defend their home or personal safety by using deadly force against trespassers. This is about racism. Bigotry against Blacks in general and young Black males in particular. So please, don't begin the standard talking points on gun control and stand your ground statutes. It adds insult to tragedy.

Dear disability rights nonprofits, activists, and everyone else. Have you reached out to your Black constituents? Have you publicly expressed your outrage? Are you silent now? Because if you are, you are sending a message that Black lives are irrelevant.  You are erasing my son's life and my life as well.

Do not then wonder why Black activists are not more involved with your causes.






8 comments:

  1. Kerima, I was one of the ones talking about it by talking about gun control and this helped me understand more deeply. I am going to post this with my new understanding and hope others see too. Much love, respect and solidarity. Love, Ib

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  2. I will be sharing this widely, Kerima.

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  3. Brilliant and gut-wrenching.
    One feels the rage and passion in your essence.
    "...approaching a car and trying to incite a reason to shoot at the teenaged passengers in it is not standing one's ground. Arguing about the volume of music in a public gas station is not standing your ground. So this is not about whether a person has a right to defend their home or personal safety by using deadly force against trespassers. This is about racism."
    I was just watching a program documenting the civil rights movement during the Kennedy years, and found my mind wandering; thinking about how we whites love to congratulate ourselves by speaking of "how far we've come" since then. But a cursory scan of the news of the past few years reveals ample evidence that we're living in a vast shooting gallery wherein African Americans are the moving targets, and, year by year it seems there are more steps back than forward.

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  4. In light of the additional crisis in Ferguson, MO, I am feeling the rage and passion were not enough. Thank you for adding your voice here. It matters. Especially right now.

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