THE SHADE OF BLACK AND WHITE IN AMERICA
Blacks and Whites have shared a love/hate relationship here in America. A lot and can be said about the dynamics and complexity of the history leading back to the shores of the Ivory Coast in West Africa. The subject has worn on my physic for longer than most of you can possibly imagine. Nevertheless, like a ketchup stain splattered on the kitchen wall becomes part of the wallpaper, we have become desensitized to the suffering experienced by the Black man here in America. I for one, do not have all the intellect to answer to this aged old dilemma plaguing our community. Therefore, I felt the need to evaluate, “The Shade of Black and White in America” in an attempt to better understand the challenges our country faces in the coming years.
Let’s lapse back in time for a moment when Rodney King was the focus of media attention. It is safe to say that the events leading up to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, were by and large contributed to the verdict handed down by a jury for the police involving the excessive use of force after detaining Rodney King during a traffic stop. February 26, 2012 Trayvon Martin was gunned down by George Zimmerman; a wantta be police officer, in Sanford, Florida. The fatal shooting of the 17-year old African America by then 28 year old “neighborhood watch security guard caused pandemonium and unrest throughout the United states and abroad in the international community.
Now let’s flip the coin on the other side for a moment and evaluate the same set of circumstances but in this example the individual firing the weapon is a BLACK Woman, her name is Marissa Alexander.
She was convicted in 2012 under Florida’s 10-20-life law, which requires a mandatory minimum sentencing in certain crimes involving a firearm. Alexander was previously denied immunity under the state’s Stand Your Ground law. KEEP IN MIND” NO ONE” WAS INJURED. By the way George Zimmerman used the same defense, HE DIDN’T FIRE A WARNING SHOT AND KILLED A YOUNG BLACK MALE AND WAS FOUND INNOCENT.
Most recently a jury has found Michael Dunn, the Florida man accused of shooting an unarmed teenager to death during a dispute over loud music, guilty of four charges, but the jury was unable to reach a decision on the top count, first-degree murder. Dunn, who is white, fired 10 shots into an SUV, killing Jordan Davis, 17, who was black. The shooting in a convenience store parking lot in Jacksonville erupted after Dunn asked the teenagers in the vehicle to turn down their music.
Dunn was charged with first-degree murder, three counts of attempted second-degree murder and one count of firing into a vehicle in the Nov. 23, 2012, shooting. The jury couldn’t reach a decision on the first-degree murder charge, but convicted on the other four.
Dunn contended he acted in self-defense. Prosecutors suggested that Dunn, 47, was angry because he was being disrespected by a young black man.
Dunn was remanded to the custody of authorities. Sentencing, which could total as much as 75 years in prison, was set for around March 24.
The sequestered jury began its deliberations Wednesday, a week after opening statements began. That Dunn had fired into the SUV and killed Davis was never in question. What the jury had to determine was whether Dunn had acted in self-defense.
The proceedings are the latest in a series of murder cases with claims of self-defense that have roiled Florida and garnered national attention. George Zimmerman, who identifies as Latino, was acquitted of murdering an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin, during a confrontation on Feb. 26, 2012. Another case, involving a former police captain accused of killing a man in a movie theater after a dispute over texting, is working its way through the courts.
As in the Zimmerman case, race has been a subtext in the Dunn trial. Prosecutors maintained that Dunn repeatedly shot at the black teenagers because they were playing their hip-hop music too loudly.
“This defendant was disrespected by a 17-year-old teenager, and he lost it. He wasn’t happy with Jordan Davis’ attitude. What was his response? ‘You’re not going to talk to me like that,’ ” Assistant State Atty. Erin Wolfson said. “He took these actions because it was premeditated. It was not self-defense.”
But Dunn’s attorney, Cory Strolla, pressed the self-defense claim and argued that Dunn had a right to shoot if he reasonably thought he was in danger.
“We understand Jordan Davis was human and this was a tragedy,” Strolla said. The attorney added later, “Deadly force is justifiable if Dunn reasonably believed he faced an attempted murder of himself or another.”
Florida’s “stand your ground” law allows the defense to seek a special hearing to receive immunity from prosecution before a trial. Dunn did not choose to go that route, but argued that he had acted in self-defense because he thought there was a weapon in the car and he feared for his life.
This is no attempt to open up any old wounds, too many people have already had to deal with the pain of having to lay to rest one of our children for a senseless act. And being the father of two young black males I know what Travyon Martin’s parents must have felt when they were told their son’s life had been senselessly taken.
So at what point is there value placed on the life of an African American? Well, putting it bluntly as history has shown us, “The only time a black man’s life has value is when a white man takes it.” Now, I know that is a hell of a position to take but at some point we have to own up to this crisis in order for there to be any change. As far as I’m concerned, anytime there is an act of violence or heinous crime perpetrated against a man of color by any person, then that person should full the weight of the law on his shoulders. Regardless of his race. Our black leaders should be marching in the black communities right now in protest of the black on black crime being committed at an alarming rate. Our so-called leaders remind me of the ambulance chasers looking for a settlement playing the race card.
I think it’s Ludicrous that we as a race of people have embraced the word,” Nigga”, which was created by the white man at a time when the black man was treated in-humanly. I find it ironic that WE as a race of people embrace such a derogatory word and psychologically use it and feel somehow empowered by using it against ourselves. A very large percent of African Americans will be offended if they heard a Caucasian using the term nigga or nigger. In a study I recently conducted in Los Angeles, CA a black man said in no uncertain terms, “Only a black can call another black a nigga.” What sense does that make? It’s that same warped mentality used to justify the out of control crime rate prevalent in the African American community today.
So apparently, everything is copacetic with the high crime rate and black on black violence as long as we are causing havoc in our own communities and we are responsible for taking the life of another black man. Now, when an individual of another ethnic persuasion, ie., (Caucasian) takes the life of a brother it’s revered as an outrage. This type of behavior has plagued our community long enough.
First of all, it has to be established anytime violence rears its ugly head in our community, we as a people will do everything within our power to eradicate the cause, at all cost. Which means championing a cause to speak out against violence in our community. I’m not talking about the gated communities or the subdivisions with expensive HOA fees. I am talking about good common-sense resolve for a condition rapidly spiraling out of control.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) notes that most crime is intra-racial. Which means there is something called, (“WHITE ON WHITE”) crime, (“Korean on Korean”) crime, etc… According to the Justice Statistics the White on White crime rate is 84%. Simply put, all races kill within their own race, but this isn’t to make light of the staggering statistic related to Black on Black violence. Now just because White’s kill White’s and Hispanics kill Hispanics don’t make me sleep at night. I’m concern about the violence plaguing our city streets. We as a race of people have to reevaluate our current situation before we’re not left with anyone at the finish line.