My Thoughts on the Michael Brown Verdict

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I got an update from CNN at around 11 o’clock last night. Being half asleep, I glanced over to my phone, stared at it for a while, and slowly sat up in my bed. Staring into space now, all I could do was think of the current situation I’m in, and my heart sank. No outrage, no screaming, just disappointment and a hint of fear. With that I listened to some music, and went to bed soon after.

 

That was my initial reaction to hearing that Officer Darren Wilson was not indicted for the shooting of 18 year-old Michael Brown.

 

What saddens me the most is of course the fact that the legal system is indirectly calling black boys targets, and not human beings. As a black boy I am no longer safe, for now it seems like I’d be safer running away from the police than towards them for help. This has been shown multiple times. But the thing that makes me hate myself, is the fact that my response to these shootings are becoming less and less passionate. I remember when Trayvon Martin was shot, and how I was fuming for weeks on end, angry at everyone and everything. I was thirteen, and in my eyes this was something I’ve never heard of: someone who looks just like me is killed for no reason. This was heartless, sad, and unprecedented for the most part. But after two years of the same sad story with different names and faces, all I can do is stare at a wall and pray for the families of the victims.  I’m slowly being desensitized from an issue that directly affects me, and I hate that I feel this way.  This is something that needs to change.

 

In no way is it OK to normalize the shooting and killing of black boys. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing normal or regular or just about Michael Brown, Troy Davis, Trayvon Martin, and countless others. All of them were unique lives that ended too soon. But the fact that it happens so often is where the psychological issue comes into play. When you see black face after black face after black face on the news as a kid and as an adult, you start to see it as normal. This leads to the further devaluing of black boys, resulting in the process starting all over again. So when something is becoming “boring”, what does the news latch on to make a story?  In this case, its the riots.

 

I woke up at around 9:30 today, and turned on the television to see how people were responding to the verdict. Hoping to see news coverage on the Michael Brown’s family, or more on the lack of indictment itself, I was instead greeted by headlines like “Riots Fill the Streets of Ferguson”, and “Ferguson up in Flames”. This was coupled with video segments of black people looting and jumping on police cars, but nothing on the cause of this anger. I turned off the TV and finished my cereal in silence.

 

OK, this is the part that makes me mad. Not only does the news seem to not cover enough of the lack of indictment itself,  but instead MSNBC and CNN are focusing more on the looting and the rioting caused by this issue. Sure, the news still needs to cover something like this, but the main story is being missed. “Michael Brown’s Killer Set Free”. “Shooter of Innocent Boy Released”. “Darren Wilson Gone With No Charges”. These all sound like headlines that would not only bring in views, but would also tell the real story instead of the aftermath, no matter how exciting that may be.

 

To say the least, these are my feelings on the lack of indictment. I’m sad, dissapointed, but in the end I can only shake my head.  So this holiday season, I’ll have a lot to be thankful for. I have my family, my friends, my health, and especially the ability to be alive, for I know for sure that can change at any time. RIP Michael Brown.

 

Happy Holidays.

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Michael Brown, Another Black Teen Dead.

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Michael Brown

 

To be honest, I  really didn’t  want to cover this story.

 

I know I’m supposed to cover things like this, because you guys want to know what  boys like me think about these tragedies. But it makes me sick to my stomach to keep repeating the same story over and over and over and over again, and to see it countless times on the news. First it was Trayvon Martin, then Jordan Davis, and now Michael Brown , as well as countless others. And even more recently Ezell Ford, who was fatally shot by the police in south L.A 2 days after Michael Brown was shot. Another Black  Boy was shot and killed by the police.

I’m sorry, but the last time I checked, black boys don’t resemble geese, quail, or any kind of deer for that matter.  So why in the world are we being hunted by the people that are supposed to protect us.  How  am I supposed to call this country “home”, when it is obvious that the police force turn on anybody that looks like me? Is there a reason behind this violence? That’s what I’m still trying to find out. But until then, I am staying as far away from the cops as I can. Because at this point in American society, making it through the day as a black boy truly is a blessing.

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Jordan Davis: Thoughts From A Black Teenager

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I get scared every time I turn on the news now. My thoughts on the verdict of Jordan Davis, the 17-year-old young African American man who was shot to death by Michael Dunn are simple: as a black boy in this day and age, my trust and sense of safety is dwindling as I write this. First Trayvon Martin, then Renisha McBride, and now Jordan Davis, as well as too many others to name. What is the news telling me when people that look just like me are getting murdered just because? To me this means that America is a long way away from Martin’s dream of people being judged by the content of their character. To me this means that even though we have a black president, things are definitely not perfect. And to me this means that some white people still don’t know that they’re not just killing three-fifths of a person anymore.

        This entire case hits home for me because Jordan Davis could have been a lot of people I know. He could have been my cousins who live in Florida. He could have been my brother Cole. He could have been me. Over the course of two years since Trayvon was killed, my mental process and the way I hold myself in public has changed, without a doubt. I’m constantly evaluating and questioning myself: should I change the way I am because of other people? My answer is always, no, probably not. But do I change myself because it keeps me safe? Yes, definitely. I try to distance myself from any sort of commotion or conflict happening around me because I know it’s too easy for someone to come along and make me a suspect. I try to be extra nice to strangers so they don’t get the wrong impression. And unless it’s negative 20 below zero, I’ll take a hat, not a hood. And I’m not a “thug” in any way, shape, or form. I get good grades, I try to use manners when I need to, and always try to keep a smile on my face. But I know that that doesn’t mean a thing to someone who is threatened by me. By the skin I’m in. Because racists and even regular people who let stereotypes push their fear don’t see me as a complete individual with good home training and good morals. All they see is dark pigment walking down the street and they’re ready to pull the trigger.

        Although Michael Dunn is going to prison for his wrong-doing, it still doesn’t feel right. After all, somebody going to prison doesn’t mean the event didn’t happen. Jordan Davis’ parents still mourn, and we still lost a valuable life and teenage black boys like me are still hearing the message loud and clear: it’s open season on us. Plus, the murder of Jordan Davis isn’t even the reason why Dunn is going to jail! He’s going to jail for what? For almost killing Jordan Davis’ friends who were in the car, and for shooting deadly missiles. Not because he shot somebody in cold blood for no reason, but because he didn’t kill more people and was using a gun. This brings me to another force that I clearly can’t trust: The American criminal justice system.

        Why is it that my father tells me not to confront the police even in times of danger? Because all too often, the police and the criminals have the same mindset: “Let’s get rid of all these brown faces once and for all.” How come those 11 jurors and that judge could not come up with the verdict that was staring them right in the face? I don’t know. I can’t quite comprehend how a fear gives someone the right to take someone’s life. Honestly, I feel like the verdict answers to a fear of making too many people mad. This phobia is the same one that the jurors of Trayvon’s case had, and it was the same one that the jurors in Troy Davis’ case had back in 2011. I can’t help but to think that the American criminal justice system is set up to condone the loss of a black life rather than anger the white community it serves.

So I say all this to say that I’m severely heartbroken, not just because of the case, but because it has been officially made clear that too many white Americans don’t consider black boys as citizens or even human beings. Do you think this would have been a problem if a group of white guys were blasting Tim McGraw? My guess is no. Because that wouldn’t be “thug music.” My heart goes out to the parents and family of Jordan Davis. Mr. Davis and Mrs. McBath: I am painfully sorry that your son had to be a victim of White America. I don’t know, maybe next time I’ll turn down Chief Keef and turn up Taylor Swift when I’m driving in the part of the country I supposedly can call home. Maybe that will save my life.

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