A parent’s job is hard enough without worrying if their own child will lose their life for simply being a black teenager.
Today’s world has changed our overall outlook and created heightened fears in many parents based on the perceptions imposed by some judicial policies. At this writing I feel my hands trembling once again because of a verdict that seems unjust in the case of yet another young black male killed in Florida. Once more, the stand your ground laws came into play when what most of America saw was just a teenager doing what teenagers do. Jordan Davis was hanging out with his friends in November of 2012 and stopped at a gas station. The rap music was blaring just like any other teen would have it whether it be rock, heavy metal or country music. If you analyze it, it is kind of silly how we can get annoyed with loud music as adults but love it as kids. In 2012 though, Michael Dunn’s feelings of annoyance went well beyond dealing with a simple case of what I call plucked nerves. In the end, Jordan ended up dead and the 2014 trial of Dunn’s went against what many believe should have been the outcome. A mistrial on a first degree murder charge does not seem to fit the crime. He was, however, found guilty on attempted murder charges…….. but in that attempt, someone was still murdered.
My initial feelings were much different this time than in the case of George Zimmerman when he was tried for the death of Trayvon Martin. In the Martin case, I was outraged. Once my initial internal anger (that lasted for days) subsided, I was saddened. In the Davis case, I wept terribly. I asked myself why the different reaction and realized that I had hope our justice system would do the right thing in Zimmerman’s trial. After the Dunn trial, I felt pain for Trayvon’s family, Jordan’s family and for my own sons as well as all of the other young black males who just want to hang out with their friends. My tears were also filled with an insurmountable amount of fear for the safety of my two sons ages 23 and 12. The fear for my oldest is sometimes more intense because he does not live near me. Like any other 23 year old, he comes and goes when he wants and he’s in the “I want to hang out and enjoy life phase” that we’re all entitled to. For my 12 year old, I fear for his future as he embarks on those independence finding teen years that are staring me right in the face.
The verdict seems so unfair, but not completely surprising at this point. For many people it causes us to wonder if the only price or value attached to a young black’s child head is the one paid to a prison or a funeral home. My 12 year old asked me “mommy, what now?” I couldn’t give him an answer that I believed in as relates to how we can see cases like this get the fair shake we know they deserve. I am still grieving for the family of Jordan and for the family of Trayvon, who metaphorically just had the scar ripped off of their own wound through this verdict.
Many communities have formed task forces and petitions have been created. Some programs like the Black Man Can Institute for Youth, headed by Brandon Frame, even include a workshop showing young black males how to interact with the police if they’re stopped and frisked. What do we do in a case of a kid just listening to his music or walking down the street with skittles? It’s not realistic to think that if you randomly say something to a teenager that they won’t be mouthy. How many of us had some form of mouth even with our own parents when we were teens? Maybe it wasn’t as bad as some of what’s out there now (in our opinion) but in those times it was terrible to our parents.
Today’s teens are stressed out and on edge. They have limited places to go that are safe, yet they have pent up energy that needs to be exerted. They listen to risqué music just like we did. Their hormones are up and down just like ours were. None of us want to be disrespected by a kid and news flash folks, none of them want to be disrespected by us.
Again, as a mother I’m afraid. I’m afraid of the world my children have to live in. I’m afraid of the anxiety so many children will grow up to have because they are in fear that they or their friends will be the next ones to make the news in a case like this. I’m also afraid that we have a society that is full of so many adults with their own fears and impulses unchecked that they can become enraged to the point that they kill a kid. A teenager is still a kid and they looked like kids not grown men. I’m also afraid of the messages our justice system is sending to victims and the aggressors. Is it telling victims they don’t have a right to live? Is it telling aggressors they can lose control and stand their ground while getting away with murder? Is it telling moms like me to keep our kids in the house until they outgrow the roller coaster teen years? What the justice system should be doing is telling legislators that it needs a total makeover; because, attempted murder that results in murder yet ends up with a mistrial on the murder charge makes no sense! In this case at least there is a possibility the re-trial of the first degree murder charge renders a guilty verdict; however, fear and tragedy are the only real winners in this case.
@Adub4spirit Dunn & Zimmerman trials showed that as long as there’s a lack of patience & communication, they”ll be a concern 4 life taken.
— Phurdrick (@phurdrick) February 17, 2014