Race & Politics

Michael Dunn, Not Rap Music, Killed Jordan Davis


***Damon’s latest at Complex on the (false) implication that rap music caused Jordan Davis’ murder***

Somewhere in America, a young Black male will be killed. Again. Maybe he’ll 16. Or 23. Or 11.

There will eventually be a trial about this murder. This trial will get some press coverage. And during the coverage, someone—maybe the defendant, or the defendant’s lawyer, or the district attorney, or the judge, or the family of the victim, or the family of the defendant, or a reporter, or a columnist, or a person leaving a message on the columnist’s column, or a popular blogger, or a TV pundit, or a Twitter personality—will find a way to connect rap music to the murder.

Maybe they’ll explicitly say “rap music killed him.” Maybe they’ll be dangerously (and lazily) racist, using terms like “thug music” and making sure that, when they refer to rap music, they always put “music” in quotes. Or maybe they’ll be more subtle, using terms like “helped cultivate a nihilistic environment” and “reinforced a culture of learned helplessness.” Maybe they’ll even appear to be conflicted about what they’re saying by beginning a piece with a paragraph letting everyone know they enjoy rap music too, and proving their rap cred by name-dropping J Dilla and Talib Kweli.

Maybe, as happened during Michael David Dunn’s trial for Jordan Davis’s murder, someone will imply that a rap song has any blame whatsoever for the cowardly, murderous intent that causes a man to shoot multiple times at a truck despite no reason to fear for his safety and also have such a callous disregard for life that he orders a pizza afterwards.

Anyway, it will happen again.

And when it does, when someone tries again to put rap music on trial instead of the actual murderer—or the justice system, or income inequality, or substandard schools, or the prison-industrial complex, or how “the irrelevance of black life has been drilled into this country since its infancy,” or anyone or anything else that may have had an actual, tangible influence on the crime—by asking or implying “Did rap music cause this murder?”, my answer then will be the same as it is now:

Fuck no.

***Read the rest at Complex***

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • ratchet d-Ibaka

    Trigger happy as if he were out hunting and shooting a rabbit. Clearly a black boy’s life is valueless.

    • Justin_Igger

      Shooting an ape, actually.

  • iamnotakata

    I am sick of people….The mistrial on the murder count made approximately no d@mn sense….How can you determine that someone attempted to kill a person but couldn’t decide that he actually murdered the person he killed….trash…F*c florida, micheal dunn…and the stupid a*s jury…

    I’m sick of young black boys dying because of white folks insecurities…..The same way I’m sick of white women clutching their purses and pulling to the side or waiting in the elevator because they don’t want or aren’t comfortable with a black person walking behind them….ughhhhh!!!

    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

      They were in agreement that he killed Davis, they were in disagreement over the ruling he should be charged with. A new jury will be gathered to determine if he is guilty or not guilty of 1st degree murder.

  • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

    I don’t think some people understand how hard it is to have to exist and code switch and shrink yourself around white people you aren’t familiar with. Everything I do when I’m in spaces where I’m the lone black body somewhere, is centered around making white people “comfortable” with the fact that I’m in their space. I have to be mindful of my body language, speech patterns, even simple colloquialisms I’d use with family/close friends. It is incredibly taxing to have to toe this line all of the time because heck, someone might shoot me for wearing my scarf one day and claim I was making them uncomfortable.

    I don’t trust the legal system to uphold the rights of everyone. I’m happy that Dunn has been charged with the attempted murders of the other teams in the car. A small victory. I’ll take it.

    • nillalatte

      “I don’t trust the legal system to uphold the rights of everyone.”

      Deja vu

      • Justin_Igger

        The legal system is designed by and for only human beings. Ni66ers need not apply, unless to be incarcerated. Thank you for your understanding.

    • NomadaNare

      Real talk. I’m much bigger than most people, let alone most white people. It is often a challenge to effectively combat instantaneous judgements on my person. It’s gotten to the point where I won’t get a haircut because white people are more comfortable with curly natural hair because it’s what they see on TV. When speaking I have to be the most eloquent and thoughtful guy in the room in order to be taken seriously. It really is a drag sometimes.

      • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

        Word on the haircut thing. To take things a bit lighter today, last night I was in a party where the crowd was 80% White. The day before, I got a haircut to a nice caesar, and somehow the convo got into curly hair. I joked that should accept the curls just like I do, and my White friend said “oh, so you think I should just shave it off?” I stood there thinking “…but I have hair…” And a few days before, I had a bunch of sisters clown me because the afro was in definite need of shaping up.

        Go freakin’ figure. It’s a bit of a minor example in the grand scheme of things, but Black and White standards of hair are *different*. LOL

        • Justin_Igger

          Ni66ers don’t have hair, they have fur.

      • Justin_Igger

        Real talk, no ni66er is bullet-proof.

    • http://www.facebook.com/MentalMass MENTAL MASTURBATION

      I hate having to ‘disarm’ white people who may feel threatened by the presence of a Black person. We do it as a preemptive strike to protect ourselves from any type of attack(physical or otherwise) at the hands of a white person, but pandering to a white person in itself, is a form of white oppression which I cannot stand. Why should the burden always be on the Black person, instead of the ignorant and prejudiced white person who holds negative thoughts about my culture and those who look like me?

      • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

        I’d rather not give white people that much responsibility over my life by letting them be “decent humans” and judge me as a good person. I like my life.

        • Justin_Igger

          Then make the wise decision and keep the ni66er chimp outs to your own species.

      • Justin_Igger

        Because we will fking kill you, ni66er. Period. Trust me on this.

    • Justin_Igger

      You have no idea, trust me.
      It’s not about being careful around Whites because they might judge you. You ni66ers need to know the truth. It is because human beings are wise to your game now ni66ers, and we’ll more than likely shoot you and do the world a favor if you even think about giving us a good reason.
      Don’t be fooled; most of us have our hand on our guns already when one of you filthy, subhuman apes are even around.

    • Ms Butterfly

      I’m tired of this as well, especially at work. I wonder what will happen if black people collectively just decided to stop caring about things that make white people uncomfortable? I feel like in the public sphere, things are starting to trend this way and I think I can attribute this to Obama’s speech about prejudice after Trayvon’s murder.

  • Geneva Girl

    It’s times like this that make me glad I live out of the country. Sad. Very sad.

  • Msdebbs

    I live in country azz Jax where this fucery took place. Michael Dun is a raging racist who got mad when some black kid started mouthing off and decided to teach him a lesson. This man didn’t give shiat about killing Davis so much he went to a hotel ordered pizza and walked his dog. That showed his state of mind along with these jail house letters: http://www.news4jax.com/news/letters-witness-interviews-in-michael-dunn-case-released/-/475880/22479284/-/qf4s66z/-/index.html

    • Justin_Igger

      What exactly is wrong with shooting a ni66er dead?

  • NomadaNare

    1. Lesser charges were included in jury instructions, just because the prosecutor didn’t make the case for murder one doesn’t mean the jury could not have convicted on lesser charges.

    2. By this decision, if the other three teenagers had not been in the car, Mr. Dunn would most likely have walked.

    3. Also, If he had killed all teenagers in the car, Mr. Dunn might have also walked.

    4. How do people expect black America to respond to this? What happens when it is repeatedly shown that you can not rely on protections under law?

    5. A simple change to “stand your ground” laws would make them infinitely more fair, none of this “feeling threatened” crap, you need to actually *be* in danger. If you shoot at a car with no evidence of a gun or intent to do you grave bodily harm, you go to jail.

    6. We should start arming ourselves. A lot of this bravado is under the assumption that no one is around to shoot back. I think we’d be surprised how many less shootings we’d see if their was a reasonable chance of being shot back every time some idiot with a chip on his shoulder pulled out a gun.

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      About #6, I have some homework for you to do. Read up on the history of the Border Reivers (sic), and get an understanding of who they were. Then, read up on where their descendents ended up. It explains a LOT about American history once you put those two concepts together.

      • NomadaNare


        Interesting concept. So, you think that because American whites are descendants of the border reivers that they are particularly predisposed to lawlessness and aggression?

        • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

          The key is that while they were only a minority among the original American settlers, their descendants and various neighbors spread their values throughout society, particular in the strength of “hillbilly” culture. When you realize how influential they have been throughout American society, a lot of ish will start making sense vis-a-vis America’s violent tradition.

    • Heavens2Murgatroid

      #5 is so right. With that “threatened” mindset (insecurity), might as well start shooting pigeons, squirrels, or anything that strays too close when stepping outside. “People fear what they don’t understand, hate what they can’t conquer. Guess that’s just the theory of man.”

    • afronica

      Re: #6, I have always been pro-gun control. I’ve seen the studies that say that a gun owner’s weapon is often used against them when they are attacked. I’ve always thought violence begets violence.

      But I’m starting to think differently. What else can I think after Jonny Gammage, Travon Martin, Emitt Till, Jordan Davis, Abner Louima, and every other black man in that same, long line? Different eras, different states, different body types, family structures and situations, but always the same results.

      I agree with Sandpaper (see his later comment) about absolutely nothing. But I do start to wonder if there isn’t a purpose to this craziness that I just haven’t figured out yet.

      I’m at the point where I’m thinking that if another black man has to die, he may as well take a white person or two with him. If you knew me, you would understand what a sea change in my thinking that is. No more water…

      • NomadaNare

        You and I are on the exact same page. I’m also for very strict gun control (ie no civilians should be allowed to have guns at all) because that completely gets around the racism concerning whether it was okay to shoot the kid in the first place. The act of having the gun at all would be illegal, so there’d be none of these verifying of the humanity of the victim sort of thing, if you shot at anyone at all, go to jail. That being said, America is founded on white people simultaneously feeling persecuted and powerful. Guns have become more of a national symbol of white people than anything else. So I doubt they’ll be meaningfully banned anytime soon. I truly hate to say it but It seems like the only way to proceed from here is to respond to violence with real violence a la Black Panther style. Maybe if enough black people starting holding they’ll enact stricter gun laws or need to deal with random white men getting gunned down after deciding to confront any black person over affronts to their delicate sensibilities.

        • http://theurbanpolitico.com/ Shady Grady

          I’ve generally been opposed to most gun control and would certainly be opposed to only police/military having guns. I think we (black people) need to remember how cowardly most racists are and how like all bullies they will often find other things to do then **** with someone who is armed and ready to rock and roll. We knew this in the sixties but for some reason seem to have forgotten it.

  • nillalatte

    “I don’t trust the legal system to uphold the rights of everyone.”

  • nillalatte

    The legal system. It could work, it should work, but it rarely does work for fairness of all i.e. equal justice for all. I think a mistrial is, in fact, a good thing. He’s not in the clear and, I presume, will face another trial on that single charge while sitting in jail.

    It is no secret I despise the criminal court system in it’s current form from the way evidence can or should be presented, to how juries are chosen, to the DA’s that pile on hefty charges just to make sure they get some kind of conviction to spruce their resume. And, then you have the race factor as if that system didn’t have enough flaws already.

    The irony is a person might learn of a co-worker or a friend who they believe is squeaky clean (no arrests, no convictions) who ended up having a criminal record. And, in some way, thoughts change toward that person (not good or bad, just changed). Maybe they won’t be hired somewhere or friends will distance themselves after learning this information. So this begs the question: Why do people believe the system when they don’t believe IN the system?

  • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

    First of all, that was a bizarre a$$ verdict. That said, Mr. Dunn is going away for a long, long time. Personally, if I were the parents, I would declare victory and go home, as he’s supposed to get 60 years for the other charges. That said, I’m not going to pretend that Jordan Davis’ parents have an easy decision.

    More importantly, I think with this case, and with the Zimmerman case, I think we’ve reached the legal limits of Civil Rights. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t more work to be done. It’s just that the work isn’t, and likely shouldn’t, take place within the confines of the legal system. Fairly or not, we live in a world where a Black person or Black people can be accepted…so long as they abandon their culture. We can list dudes like Clarence Thomas, Alan Keyes or Allen West all day who have done so. The issue isn’t as much being a Black person but representing Black culture.

    For reasons deep enough to write a senior thesis, African-American culture isn’t considered a thing the way that Chinese culture is a thing, or Indian culture is a thing or, dare I say it, Afro-Carribean Culture or West African culture is considered a thing. Our culture is looked at less on its own terms as much as it is a perversion of hegemonic American culture. If you read any place where pop culture is discussed, you get this same sense that there’s a “Black problem” in American culture, and if they’d just do what White people are doing, the world would be a better place. It is as if Black culture existing somehow means that the cultural legacy of the descendants of European immigrants can somehow be erased by Two Chains, and we’re going to burn all their books. LOL

    In a way, dudes like Michael Dunn and George Zimmerman aren’t as much a cause but a symptom. Sadly, people gunning for the outsiders of a culture has always been a concept throughout the planet, and if they weren’t gunning for Black boys, they’d just as easily gun for any other group they could aim for. The real problem is that palpable fear White America has for Black culture, an I’m not sure you can legislate against that. It has to be done person by person, interaction by interaction.

    • Heavens2Murgatroid

      It’s a deeply-imbedded fear of Black culture and of themselves. I’ve never came across more insecure individuals as I have with whites. Which stands to prove what’s the point of assimilating with them? Aside of misery loving company

      • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

        To answer your question, I personally believe that is for each Black person to decide to themselves. I, for once, don’t want to be a member of a culture whose members are kept there at gun point. Let the people decide for themselves, for good or ill.

        About the insecurity thing, it depends heavily on where in the country you are. As a native New Yorker, there are a lot of White people who know 2 or 3 generations ago, they were the outsiders along with Black folk. As a result, they tend to roll harder with their Whiteness, especially with their assimilation. While Southerners go hard in the paint with their racism, they also have a definition of who they are as a culture, for good or ill. I think the insecurity is a direct result with the amount of assimilation (or lack thereof) their forebearers had to go through to be accepted by White America. Heck, the definition of White America has changed radically from what even the Founding Fathers would have conceived.

        What makes it interesting is that the very openness of American society is also what makes it so insecure. It’s an ill dynamic, when you reflect on it.

        • Epsilonicus

          That second paragraph is everything

          What White folks, and many folks, fail to realize is that assimilation was the cost that European immigrants had to pay in order to receive all the benefits of being White. Give up your culture and take deez benefits.

          • Justin_Igger

            Give up your welfare/food stamps and take these bullets. Regardless of America’s racial make up, ni66ers will forever be at the very bottom of the totem pole. And rightfully so.

        • http://trulytafakari.com/ dtafakari

          When you consider that the very founding fathers actively wrote that they did not want Africans, Native Americans, or Mexicans to be citizens of the Union, the country’s standpoint toward minorities makes complete sense.

          • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

            Hey, I got one better that will shock you: Germans. Ben Franklin openly complained about German immigrants to the USA around the founding, and throughout the 19th Century, they were often thought of as a group apart from reg’lar White folk. Heck, up until WWI, German was the 2nd most commonly spoken language, not Spanish. It wasn’t until WWI that Germans were fully accepted as White, and even then, there were some lingering holdouts for a generation.

        • Justin_Igger

          Ni66ers will be kept a gunpoint a long as they exist. Deal with it.

      • Justin_Igger

        It is not our insecurity, it is your subhumanity and animalistic and simian tendency toward violence for each and every predicament you worthless ni66ers might ever find yourself in.
        Don’t get too full of yourself, we won’t think twice about dropping you like a sack of ni66ers if given the slightest of good reason.

    • ED

      “More importantly, I think with this case, and with the Zimmerman case, I think we’ve reached the legal limits of Civil Rights. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t more work to be done. It’s just that the work isn’t, and likely shouldn’t, take place within the confines of the legal system.”

      I agree with this

      • Justin_Igger

        Civil rights are only for human beings, though. Not for ni66ers.

    • PhlyyPhree

      “If you read any place where pop culture is discussed, you get this same sense that there’s a “Black problem” in American culture, and if they’d just do what White people are doing, the world would be a better place. It is as if Black culture existing somehow means that the cultural legacy of the descendants of European immigrants can somehow be erased by Two Chains, and we’re going to burn all their books. LOL”

      No LOL. This is pretty much fact in my opinion.

      • Justin_Igger

        Ni66er culture is filthy, and truly shows the mental, emotional, physical, and evolutionary deprivation of the ni66er species.

    • Justin_Igger

      They are symptoms, you are correct. Symptoms of the disease that is rampant throughout all of America. That disease is called ni66ers. We are also the cure.

  • Sandpaper

    The fire is being stoked. Irrational killings, slave movies, etc..Think about it.

    • Justin_Igger

      Yup. America is long overdue for a Race War. Whites could literally wipe out most ni66ers from our land in a matter or mere weeks. The only reason it would take that long, is because we’d have to hunt you out and find you ni66ers after you go into hiding.