Dear Black Boys:
I pray that one day we can say with a conscious mind, “It’s okay. You’re safe.”
What does the bullet say to the living when it penetrates the skin? How does the spiral move through the flesh as it digs deeper into breath? What’s worse—dying because you were racially profiled and pursued, or dying because your generation’s pop culture music was louder than the gas prices?
“If Dunn was an African American who shot Billy Ray for blasting country music in a Confederate flag-covered vehicle it would’ve been an open and shut case, and America would’ve expected a life sentence.”We are reminded of how easily a melanin-filled body can be discarded. When parents hear these stories on the nightly news, especially mothers who carry these children for 9 months, a riveting moment of fear echoes through their soul. Now I understand why my mother would insist that I let her know my whereabouts when was in my mid-twenties, and even now, when I’m in my thirties.
When I discovered Michael Dunn was found guilty on 4 of 5 counts, I wasn’t surprised, but it hurt to know that the one count that the jury couldn’t decide was first-degree murder. So far he has been given a prison sentence that could span as much as 60 years. But if he was an African American who shot Billy Ray for blasting country music in a Confederate flag-covered vehicle it would’ve been an open and shut case, and all the citizens of America would’ve expected a life sentence.
Dunn’s court testimony included statements like, “I hate that thug music” and “my rear view mirror was shaking, my ear drums were vibrating.” Maybe the music was loud, but Dunn’s fear, entitlement, and privilege spoke louder. Now Jordan Davis is dead.
My heart goes out to Jordan’s parents and family, especially his father, who said, “I’m the type to lash out in anger, but I wanted to represent my family and son properly.” Even in death Black males are pushed to make others feel comfortable while they sit uncomfortable as the prey, rarely as the predator. We only get to play the predator when we our hunting ourselves.
Something must change.
(Featured photo by Tieshka Smith)
Greg Corbin Jr. is a poet, activist, and community leader. In 2006, he founded the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement to provide space and mentoring to help Philadelphia youths discover the power of their voices through spoken word and literary expression. He pens “Real Talk,” a new feature on Solomonjones.com