On the Jordan Davis Murder and Why I Avoided the Michael Dunn Trial

Jordan-DavisOn Saturday, Michael Dunn was convicted of three counts of second-degree murder while the jury was torn on the killing of unarmed black teen Jordan Russell Davis, 17. It happened. It was sad, wrong, and terrible and it happened. Most of us expected some type of injustice to ensue. But, I’m sure none of us could have imagined that Dunn would be convicted for not killing enough young boys that day. This is my first time writing about the trial because…well, because I got too invested in the George Zimmerman trial last year. It became a personal issue for me. It hurt me so deeply. So now, I have taken to emotional detachment as a coping mechanism.

I took to Twitter to read words from acquiescent black murder apologists like “grateful,” “at least,” and “partial justice.” Some folks were happy that Dunn would be going to prison for “attempting” to kill Jordan Davis’ three other friends who were in the car with him that day. They felt at least partially satisfied that, unlike George Zimmerman, Michael Dunn wouldn’t be walking away free. What they didn’t realize was that the conviction – no matter Dunn’s age and likelihood of rotting in a prison cell – was not justice for Davis.These folks don’t have the courage to admit that their Kool-aid has gone sour. There just aren’t enough straws to grasp anymore.

In essence, Dunn could have shot and killed Davis, walked down the road, then shot at – and missed – all of Davis’ friends and the same outcome would apply. Dunn didn’t kill enough young boys playing “thug” music to walk free.

Only in America can a grown man – with obvious racial hatred – shoot and kill a young black boy only to go to prison for shooting at the boys he didn’t kill. Had those boys not been in the car with Davis, Dunn wouldn’t be serving any time at all. Let that marinate with you for a bit.

I saw media outlets trivialize the murder of Jordan Davis as a ‘loud music‘ case. Minimizing the obvious racial venom pulsing in Dunn’s white body works for reads and traffic but it ignores the truth. They don’t have the courage to call this hate crime and the subsequent miscarriage of justice by their first names.

This is a country where we promise “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” We do that because we are all buying into the Grand Lie. We want to believe it so badly that we’ll just assimilate with dominant white culture which tells us that we are the problem. We’ll nod our heads in agreement when we are told that “black on black” crime is more of an issue than the hapless murder of our black boys by white gunmen. We’ll say things like, “Oh, well Oscar Grant was acting like a punk,” or “Trayvon shouldn’t have fought back,” or “Jordan should have just turned his music down.” We’ll pretend like any actions on their parts would have prevented their demise though we know statistics don’t support those claims. We’ll feign ignorance at the fact that systemic racial hatred jettisoned bullets through those black bodies. We’ll wear the mask of W.E.B. Du Bois’ famed twoness. I won’t play along but all the rest of us will.

And, frankly, I’m sick of it.

I abstained from dialogue on the killing of Jordan Davis by Michael Dunn because of the very tension I am feeling right now. The pain is palpable. I am raising two young black boys. And, like Grant, Martin, and Davis, I know that the system will never adjudicate in their favor. I know that. I know that their brown skin will always be threatening. I know that. I know that they will receive messages from the mainstream that they don’t belong or that – if they are smart and talented – they are an exception. I know all that. Soon they will too.

I have the courage to raise my boys in a country that hates them. But, I won’t drink the Kool-aid. I won’t retell the lie. I have no further use for the fable.

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Jenn M. Jackson

Jenn M. Jackson, PhD is a co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Water Cooler Convos. She is a native of Oakland, CA. Jenn is a radical Black feminist scholar who believes none of us are free until all of us are free.

3 Responses

  1. Shawna says:

    Yes, I rejoiced over the verdict for the reason that you mentioned (it means that this creep will be put away for the rest of his life -mandatory sentence), but I don’t buy-in to the fact that anyone (black, white, asian, latino, republican, democrat, male, female, etc.) really felt like this was complete or partial justice for the killing of Jordan Davis. We all heard the same press conference questioning and lack of explanation on the part of the prosecutor, and the wonderfully moving words spoken on behalf of Jordan Davis by his mother and especially his father during the press conference. And, we all know that the prosecutor did not present the racist letters written by the defendant to his loved ones as he sat in jail all this time awaiting trial, and that the family was not allowed to speak about the type of person that Jordan Davis was (and, yes, he was a great one). And, we know that the legal questions given to jurors in all criminal cases are so laced with legal-ese that they NEVER ask a direct question like “Do you think that the man on trial shot Jordan Davis without reason?” So we know that the jurors didn’t have all the facts upon which to reach a solid conclusion on all counts. Maybe the jurors will talk one day…

    I am happy that the prosecutor and family will continue to seek justice for the killing of Jordan Davis. And, I am most certainly happy to learn that this man will not be allowed back on the streets to terrorize other innocent members of society. I feel for the family of the victim for their loss and I feel for the defendant’s family for their loss, but truly he is where he should be as a result of his actions. No, that won’t bring Jordan Davis back, but it won’t subject another person to meeting an early demise at his killer’s hands either. For that I am grateful! And, I will never forget Jordan Davis. In fact, this and many of the stories like this that never get told are the reason I am taking steps to work with teens on how they can stay safe in a society that seems bent on harming them, and also taking every step necessary to enact and overturn laws that protect them as well!

  2. GreenInOC says:

    I am happy that Michael Dunn will be going to prison. I think it would have been devastating if he hadn’t.

    Often, in trials, justice is served in roundabout ways so I can understand that part of it. Understanding does not mean complacency.

    The part that is shocking, frightening, horrifying – there are not enough adjectives – is that in the verdict for the murder of Jordan Davis the court sent the message that his death was not the problem. That is sick.

    Interestingly, I perceived the “Loud Music Trial” moniker as one to broadcast the stupidity of the defendant . I never thought of the reason being that it was easier to say that then to plainly state the fact that race was the motivator not musical styles or volume of such. Thank you.

    I realize it sounds silly but I do believe that if celebrities at every level began canceling their appearances, tours, etc… in Florida because of the Stand Your Ground laws that would wake the state up faster than anything else. Money talks.

    It’s overwhelming and I’m babbling.

  3. It’s a very difficult subject to navigate. On one hand, one can rejoice in the fact that Dunn is going to jail at all. But, the outcome is terribly disappointing at the same time. Jordan deserves justice. His mother, father, and family deserve justice. This is not a victory.