Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"Lines Were Crossed": White Racial Logic and the Michael Dunn Jury

If you did not watch Nightline's interview with "Valerie", a member of the jury that failed to convict Michael Dunn of the obvious murder of Jordan Davis, I suggest that you do so.

The juror's testimony is a reminder that black life is cheap in America. An adult white man can act like a bully, a public menace, and a petty inscrutable child, then shoot and kill a teenager, and be found "not guilty" because his behavior was understandable and reasonable given his "fearful" state of mind.

I also suggest that you listen carefully to this juror's use of language and how the logic which deemed Michael Dunn "not guilty" of murder was worked through and resolved.

The United States is a racist society. This was true at the time of its founding. American society remains racist today--although it has evolved from overt white supremacy to the more "colorblind" and covert variety.

Colorblind racism works through what are called "semantic moves" wherein language is modified from the more traditional and openly racist to the more subtle and covert.

The word "thug" as it applies to black men in lieu of the word "nigger" is an example of this phenomenon.

I have written about how in the Jordan-Dunn event (as well as Zimmerman and other cases) the real crime was a violation of a social norm that black people should always defer and be submissive to white people. If we do not do so we are guilty of being "arrogant" or "uppity". The White Gaze views black people as social lessors. When we say "no", stand up for ourselves, or demand the same manhood and citizenship rights as white folks, this is an act of defiance, defiance that must be countered--with force--if necessary.

America is no longer a Jim and Jane Crow society by formal law. However, America maintains a logic of Jim and Jane Crow black inferiority and submission to white authority.

The Dunn juror channels this perfectly with her observation that "lines were crossed".

I wonder. What lines? Who made them? And how are they enforced?

Michael Dunn made a series of decisions that resulted in his murdering Jordan Davis. As the juror notes, Dunn had "options": he could have left, ignored the teens, minded his own business, driven away, or turned up his own radio. Instead, Dunn chose to drink at a wedding, confront a stranger because he was not suitably obedient, shoot him, go back to a hotel, relax, and continue on with his day.

Dunn had many options that day. However, his prime directive and modus operandi was to act with hateful and impulsive violence and to shoot at a car full of black teenagers because he did not like their music and "bad attitudes".

White supremacy hurts the cognitive, moral, and reasoning processes of white people. In Michael Dunn's world you do not ignore the wishes and whims of a white man. You especially do not make that choice if you are a black teenager.

"Valerie" suggested that Jordan Davis "taunted" Michael Dunn. Many thousands of black folks were lynched by virtue of a similar (white) logic. Stand Your Ground laws have enshrined the black "taunting" of white people--"taunting" as defined by whites, which is a critical point--as a crime punishable by summary execution.

America remains a society sick with racism.

The juror's unaware deployment of white racist logic is on full display with her explanation that race had nothing to do with the jury's decision to not convict Michael Dunn of murder. Whiteness is the luxury to be blind to social reality. And this racial blindness and myopia legitimates and rationalizes the murder of black and brown people by whites.


tiger said...

Prosecutor John Guy referred to Jordan Davis as "a loud mouth" in the closing arguments.Just whose side is he on anyway?

kokanee said...

Probably the best resource for Florida's SUG cases:

Myshkin the Idiot said...


pastormanning said...

As pinched-nose negroes lie, black boys die.

ATLAH!!! That's what GAWD said!

chauncey devega said...

You know I love Pastor Manning's comedy routine.

Buddy H said...

Interesting video:

Watch what happens when a white dude tries to break into a car, vs. a black dude:

Deshawn Davis said...

The Sanity Inspector said...

"Lines were crossed", snort! How did Dunn get to be 47 years old in the South without ever encountering mouthy teens before, black or not? If it had been me, they would have turned the music down, and we would have parted with a smile.