Michael Dunn and Justice


The forthcoming verdict in the murder trial of Michael Dunn is a dangerous thing. On one hand the man is a cold blooded killer and deserves to be held accountable. On the other hand, if there is a conviction it will surely be held up as the shining example of the criminal justice system’s ability to transcend the racial baggage of this country and provide true justice for all. There will be those who even go so far as to use a conviction of Michael Dunn as proof that George Zimmerman’s trial must have been void of racism. The system just works, they will say. Sadly, this is the furthest thing from the truth and even a conviction of Michael Dunn will not bring the truth to the surface.

Let me be clear, I am not suggesting that a conviction of Michael Dunn is meaningless. A conviction acknowledges that at least there was some wrong-doing, which is something, especially in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict. However, I would suggest that a conviction would be more of an indictment of Dunn’s casualness and blatant lies than about justice for Jordan Davis. Dunn has literally relied on what we all saw in the Zimmerman trial: the acceptance of Blackness as violent and therefore dangerous. See, Jordan Davis was listening to “thug” music, he was with other Black people so they must have been a gang, and, AND he had the nerve to disregard and even argue back with a white man. He clearly needed to be taught a lesson and Michael Dunn was there to do just that. It was only when Dunn realized that he would need to come up with a better rationale than that if he wanted to avoid jail that he went to the trusty fallback of “I thought he had a gun and was scared for my life” defense. A defense so honored throughout American history that in 2014 it may set yet another white murdering piece of shit free.

But this is not the crux of the matter. Truthfully Michael Dunn is a symptom not the disease. The disease is whiteness and its institutions, its culture. Whiteness says that this is how things are in America and you better fall in-line. Whiteness says that loud 808’s are disrespectful and that they belong to “thug” music. Whiteness says that there is a social order and that social order is sacrosanct. Whiteness says that if you disrespect said social order you deserve to lose your life. But the most insidious aspect of whiteness is simply this… that when a young life is taken — one that objectively posed no threat to any other living being in the area — when that life is stolen white people get to debate whether or not the imagined fear justifies such a theft. Make no mistake that is the essence of Stand Your Ground and self- defense. They are the modern manifestations of Black codes and should be understood as nothing less. Sadly, none of this is being deliberated on this afternoon and we must not lose sight of this fact.

There is hope though. More and more people are waking up and realizing this shit don’t make sense. I have to believe we are in the throes of white supremacy. While the justice system resists the dawning of a new age the people feel it and they will not be denied. We cannot be denied. One day, and one day soon, there will be justice for Jordan Davis and Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin and Sean Bell and Oscar Grant and Amadou Diallo and Fong Lee and Renisha McBride and Kendrick Johnson and Jonathan Ferrell and every other person who has lost their life at the hands of white supremacy.

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