There are a lot of things to say about the mistrial in the killing of Jordan Davis. There's also an overwhelming wordless howl of anguish to unleash, or just a seeping, leaden sense of exhaustion to acknowledge. How is this country's relentless slaughter of black children still going unpunished in 2014?
I keep searching for words to explain it better, to make it make sense, to tell us a story so we can learn something. I don't know if that's out there. The story is bleak. What has to be done is more work, not more talking, probably. But words are what soothe me, so I keep trying to find them.
If you're searching for the same thing, Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic offers a must-read, "On the Killing of Jordan Davis by Michael Dunn":
Jordan Davis had a mother and a father. It did not save him. Trayvon Martin had a mother and a father. They could not save him. My son has a father and mother. We cannot protect him from our country, which is our aegis and our assailant. We cannot protect our children because racism in America is not merely a belief system but a heritage, and the inability of black parents to protect their children is an ancient tradition.
Henry "Box" Brown, whose family was destroyed and whose children were trafficked, knew:
I stationed myself by the side of the road, along which the slaves, amounting to three hundred and fifty, were to pass. The purchaser of my wife was a Methodist minister, who was about starting for North Carolina. Pretty soon five wagon-loads of little children passed, and looking at the foremost one, what should I see but a little child, pointing its tiny hand towards me, exclaiming, "There's my father; I knew he would come and bid me good-bye...”
Spare us the invocations of "black-on-black crime." I will not respect the lie. I would rather be thought insane. The most mendacious phrase in the American language is "black-on-black crime," which is uttered as though the same hands that drew red lines around the ghettoes of Chicago are not the same hands that drew red lines around the life of Jordan Davis, as though black people authored North Lawndale and policy does not exist. That which mandates the murder of our Hadiya Pendletons necessarily mandates the murder of Jordan Davis. I will not respect any difference. I will not respect the lie. I would rather be thought crazy.
Also, from Tonyaa Weathersbee:
In 21st century America, the notion that a mouthy young black male could be a threat carries more weight with some people than the fact that an impulsive middle-aged white man could be a liar.
Think about it.
Last year, Charles wrote about what black parents have to teach their children, and a simple fact: "I do not want a dead son."
Danielle offers up the #DangerousBlackKids hashtag.
Anyone else got anything that's helping you get through this?