The Real Reason Jordan Davis Was Murdered

Note: This story originally appeared (in slightly different form) on my blog on February 16, 2014.

This past Friday, a Florida jury failed to find Michael Dunn guilty of first degree murder. Dunn, a (you guessed it) white man, shot and killed Jordan Davis, a (what else) young black teenager who (surprise! surprise!) was unarmed at the time of the shooting.

Dunn apparently got into an argument with Davis and a few of his friends after he walked up to them in a convenience store parking lot and demanded that they turn down their music. Dunn claimed that he saw one of the car’s occupants reaching for a weapon but, since the police failed to turn up a weapon and that none of the young men in the car had criminal records, this is unadulterated bullshit. The fact that Michael Dunn approached Davis and his friends (and not the other way around) makes his assertions that he feared for his life questionable to the point of being nonsensical. Since when did normal people run toward threats?

The simple fact of the matter is that the shooting of Jordan Davis was one-thousand percent unprovoked.

The Martin-Davis shootings aren’t the result of the state of Florida’s incredibly warped (read: fucked-up) definition of what constitutes self-defense. The shootings aren’t what happens when stupid oversuspicious hotheads get their hands on firearms. This isn’t even the result of the racial paranoia that many Americans experience when they see young black males in the street. Nor is it a response to violent crime which, incidentally, has dramatically decreased over the past twenty years.

No, ladies and gentlemen. The deadly shootings of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis are reactionary responses to the increasing political and social power of African-Americans, especially African-American males. What the people of Florida are really trying to do is resurrect Jim Crow-era racial politics.

After all, as recently as fifty years ago in the American South, men like George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn could demand deferential, even submissive, behavior from young black men like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis — just because they felt entitled to it. Now the Trayvon Martins and Jordan Davises of America are in a legal, social, political, and moral position to insist upon their right to walk down rain-soaked streets eating Skittles or to listen to the music of their choice inside their cars.

And the full force of the government and societal attitudes are on their side. In this day and age, young black males can no longer be expected to step off the sidewalk in order to let white people pass. They no longer are required to avert their eyes from white women; in fact, most Americans are more or less okay with the idea of black men having sex with, dating, or even marrying white women. Young black men can now sue the crap out of anyone who seek to deny them employment, schooling, medical care, or a host of other services because of their race. They can speak before they are spoken to — if they choose to speak at all. In short, things have changed to the point where most people, regardless of race, take it for granted that African-American men have rights that others are bound to respect. That being said, it is now necessary for racists to use deadly force to keep young black males “in line.”

If enough young black men lose their lives under these circumstances, we will begin to see a slow but increasingly steady black retreat from the more or less integrated suburbs, churches, schools, and public places of Florida. After all, you have to actually cross paths with a racist white guy before you can get shot by one.

This inexorable exodus has already begun. I know without even asking that the black parents of Florida, absolutely terrified that their sons will be returned to them in body bags after “misunderstandings” with racist white people, are now telling their sons that they now can’t go certain places, wear certain clothing, say certain words, do certain things, or insist upon certain inalienable rights around certain white people. These black parents are now reluctantly clipping their sons’ wings.

Eventually, these besieged parents will grow tired of limiting their sons’ choices. They will seek to go somewhere safe, somewhere where the threat of racially motivated violence perpetrated against their sons isn’t so ever-present. A place with no white people.

And the George Zimmermans and the Michael Dunns of Florida will smile the self-satisfied smiles of people who have gotten exactly what they wanted.