Anonymous asked: What do you think about the Michael Dunn/Jordan Davis verdict?
Similar things I’ve thought about all those who have come before him.
- I think about how tired I am of seeing another black person bleed to death just to read a dozen think pieces about the worthiness of black lives.
- I think about how tired I am.
- I think about why we continue to seek justice in this legal system for the deaths of black children. Why we focus our organizing efforts on putting people in prison who our justice system never meant to put there.
- I think about who we’re building these prisons for.
- I think black people are lynched in this country so white people can sleep at night.
- I think about how Jordan Davis’s parents are coping. I wonder if he had any siblings, any cousins. I think about his girlfriend, his friends, his ex-girlfriends, his teachers, his peers. What lives he may have touched, who he may have wronged. Who he will never be able to apologize to. What he was last smiling about. I think about the other three guys who were in the car with Jordan Davis. How will their lives change? What trauma will they experience? Will they be able to live freely again? I wonder what Jordan Davis thought about before he went to sleep and what woke him up in the morning.
- I think about how closely Jordan Davis resembles my younger brothers.
- I think Jordan Davis is a matyr. I think he was a person who refused to listen to someone who exerted their power over him and demanded he change in order to make other people comfortable. I think Jordan Davis lived his life in a fearless way most of us write about in think pieces and 140 characters. It’s one thing to reject respectability politics in an article in a liberal magazine; it’s another to reject respectability politics out in a world that has put a bounty on your existence. I think Jordan Davis refused to become invisible in order to soothe the pain of white supremacy. I hope my brothers live that way. I hope I live that way.
"Fuck that. Turn the music back up." -Jordan Davis, 1995-2012
by Suey Park
I met Dr. David Leonard, Associate Professor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies at Washington State University, on Twitter shortly after my initial critique of Tim Wise. I was pleased to discover that there existed another white man who was not marketing himself as an anti-racist, but instead doing the work with people of color, while learning from them and taking after their direction.
Dr. Leonard was gracious enough to collaborate with me on this piece when I was just starting to freelance and has been generous in his teaching. I was most moved by Leonard’s work to spread awareness on Marissa Alexander’s case, which was ignored by both white feminism and so-called anti-racists.
SP: As you know, the concept of the white anti-racist or white ally has been put into question. Why do you think this is? Are these words oxymorons? What is a better word?
DL: I don’t like either of these terms for a variety of reasons.