Jordan Davis – Law and Implicit Prejudice

While what would have been Trayvon Martin’s birthday recently passed, a similar trial was finished in court – the trial of the murder of Jordan Davis. On November 23, 2012, Michael Dunn pulled into a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida. He saw a red SUV full of black teenagers playing loud music and walked up to them to complain. He thought he saw a gun being taken out, so he shot at the teenagers, killing Jordan Davis. Recently, Dunn was convicted of attempted second-degree murder of the three other teenagers in the car. The jury was hung, however, on the … Read more

What Do You Stand For When You “Stand Your Ground”?

Many Americans have been following the Jacksonville, Florida case of Michael Dunn and Jordan Davis for the past few weeks. Dunn, a middle aged white man, fired ten shots into an SUV occupied with black teenage boys because of his frustration with their refusal to turn down the loud music they were playing. One of the boys, 17-year old Jordan Davis, was hit by three of those shots, and killed. Yes, you read that synopsis correctly. Frustration is enough grounds to brandish a deadly weapon at teenagers for playing music too loudly. Frankly, this sounds like an episode of The Simpsons, but unfortunately, … Read more

Jordan Davis and Michael Dunn

For our contemporary racism class, we read an essay by social psychologist Jennifer L. Eberhardt. The essay summarized her and her colleagues’ work on the cognitive associations we make about Black people and crime. For me, the findings were like a knife in the gut: we have unconscious prejudices that we often aren’t aware of, that can have dire consequences. In one study, participants were either unconsciously primed to think about crime or received no such prime. Then, two faces, a Black face and a White face, were flashed next to each other, at the same time, on the screen. … Read more

Stand Your Ground

After reading the articles that were assigned this week I found myself becoming increasingly mad. I know it is our second amendment right to bare arms, and that it is the person behind the gun that has ill intent not the inanimate object itself. I still tend to find myself in utter disbelief at the sheer ignorance of certain individuals in this country, and their definition of “self defense” against people of color. Certain laws like the stand your ground law that Florida has, leaves a large window open for people like George Zimmerman to use any excuse to pull … Read more

Social Power and Stand Your Ground

After discussing the Trayvon Martin tragedy in class this week, I felt very emotional and downright angry at how the case developed and was handled. How is it possible that George Zimmerman was able to kill an unarmed teenager and walk away a free man? While I do feel that many factors led to a jury finding Zimmerman not guilty, one detail of the case has stood out to me – the Stand Your Ground law. Florida’s version of the law is similar to that of other states – it allows a person to use deadly force when they feel … Read more