Sometimes, believing Black is beautiful is hard. Believing that Black people, particularly young Black males, are valued is becoming increasingly difficult. February-the year’s shortest month -is when the Black community celebrates many positive (and overlooked) contributions.
Of course, the community also confronts horrific moments in Black history like slavery and Jim Crow. Sadly, new horrific moments in Black history keep happening. Jordan Davis, a Black Florida teen shot and killed for playing his music too loud, got no justice in the court of law.
A jury failed to convict his killer, Michael Dunn, for Davis’ death, while finding him guilty of missing the other occupants in the young, Black male drove.
The verdict sent a familiar message. The loss of Black life doesn’t matter. Dunn shot the Florida teen during an argument over his loud music. For more on the Jordan Davis story, click here.
Yes, Dunn faces jail time. But, the jury ultimately decided Dunn shouldn’t be punished for actually killing an unarmed, young Black male. The Davises now join Trayvon Martin’s family in enduring a grave injustice.
Davis and Martin are symbols of irrational White fear. Fear cost Martin his life two years ago yesterday–Feb. 26, 2012. Davis was killed nearly nine months later–Nov. 23, 2012. Fear not only oppresses the Black community, it can kill–and has killed–people of color.
Renowned Black theologian James Cone, as he should, won’t let anyone forget the oppression of the Black community. Black liberation theology was once needed in the cotton fields and at Woolworth’s lunch counters. It’s needed, more than ever, in the streets and gas stations today.
Black Americans, particularly Black males, need both the literal and societal shackles removed. Irrational fears one of many tools used to deny us our freedom. Some people can’t handle, but Cone’s truth still rings true.
“There will be no peace in America until whites begin to hate their whiteness, asking from the depths of their being: ‘How can I become Black?’ I hope that if enough whites ask this question, this country will no longer be divided on the basis of color,” Cone stated in his great work, “A Black Theology of Liberation.”
This quote inspires questions and might prompt fears. “Is ‘whiteness’ the same as ‘white people’?” is one such question. The answer is no. From my perspective, whiteness is theprivilege that comes with the color.
Speaking of privilege-specifically white privilege-delusional detractors dismiss the concept by equating it with the acquisition of worldly possessions. Silver spoons aren’t needed to taste white privilege.
As Black History Month comes to a close, keeping young, Black males from becoming history should be a goal. Let’s work to allow them to have faith in their future. Let them live longer lives than Jordan and Trayvon, while giving them a sense of pride and value.