Melissa Harris-Perry Writes Open Letter about Dead Black Teen in Florida

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Meliss Harris-Perry on MSNBC did a recent segment about the shooting death of Jordan Russell.  Russell was killed by a white man for playing his music too loud, at least that’s what the media is saying.  The case is drawing similarities to Trayvon Martin, since he was also 17-years old when he died. But others are wondering why the deaths of other young black males are not being highlighted, since black boys are the greatest victims of handgun violence in America.

Perry feels that this racial incident is more worthy than others to address and she speaks to the issue in an open letter:

It’s me, Melissa. And if you are like me, this latest news has got you concerned, indeed. Because here we are again. It has been barely a year since the killing of Trayvon Martin resurrected that old angst–long buried, but always there just below the surface. You know that feeling. It’s the one that makes us hear about Trayvon, and now Jordan Davis, and reach back across decades into our history, for the name of another boy named Emmett Till.

Then, it was a whistle at a white woman. Now, it’s a hooded sweatshirt or music being played loudly from a car.

But always, this one thing has been the same–No presumption of innocence for young black men.  No benefit of the doubt. Guilt–not determined by what they did or said–but presumed to be inherent in their very being. They need not wield a weapon to pose a threat. Because, if you are a young, black man, who you are is threat enough. And in yet another case, it seems, that perceived threat is justification enough for someone who would play judge, jury and executioner.

Jordan Russell Davis will be laid to rest today. His father described his son as a typical teenager, who was looking forward to staring his first job, working at McDonald’s. He was saving up to buy his first car. The day before he died, his mother says, he gave the Thanksgiving dinner prayer, where he gave thanks for his family.

But before Jordan could be eulogized at his funeral, the defense team for the man who is accused of killing him was already telling a different story about who this young man was. According to police, Jordan and his three friends were sitting in an SUV at a Jacksonville gas station, when Dunn pulled up next to them and asked them to turn down their music down. Words were exchanged. This is the story Dunn’s attorney, Robin Lemonidis, about why her client felt threatened:

“He sees that much of a shotgun coming up over the rim of the SUV…and all he sees are heavily tinted front windows that are up and the back windows that are down, and the car has at least four black men in it, and he doesn’t know how old anyone is, and he doesn’t know anything, but he knows a shotgun when he sees one because he got his first gun as a gift from his grandparents when he was in third grade.”



9 Comment

  1. So this clown get to tell about how humble he is and how mild manner a family he came from, but this black guy had 3 or 4 black men in a tinted window car, what kind of dialogue is that. The man's writing his own book on how to kill our young men off, and his lawyer is helping him. Until his family has to face death, he just doesn't get it, That young boy belong to someone, he was precious and well blessed, he had a grand mother, G' Father, Aunts and Uncle's he had friends, cousins, a future to look forward to and a life to live. Who does this man think he's fooling. This nonsense has got to stop, we know Lawyers, Doctor and Judges yet we accept or seem to accept this nonsense as truth. Prayer works where we don't have these other people. God works it out and shows out too!

  2. Melissa is a real reporter of the historic racism in America against Black people especially young Black men who are considered brutes by racist beast preying upon our innocent, unarmed youth. Dunn had a shotgun since 3rd grade, appartently his parents exercised the U. S. constitutional to bear arms. Perhaps, if we would have taught the same maybe baby Jordan would have been armed, to at least defend himself against being senselessly murdered by a monster pulling in a gas station next while he was enjoying his music with friend to the end.

  3. They killing our babies cause they are scared of our men

  4. This is the same as lynching. No one seems to care until someone kills the wrong black child and the family goes crazy and kills a lot of white people. Then and only then will this killing of young black men stop. It is up to you when you have had enough.

  5. I am one of those people who blame white leadership and society for the ills that plague blacks, and blame black leadership and complacency for allowing those ills to continue. As long as we live under their control and are dependent on them for those things that are necessary for survival, we are no freer than our enslaved fore-parents. Whites will continue to criminalize, arrest, degrade, ridicule, malign and murder Blacks because we put ourselves (open arms) in line of fire by trying to find "creative" ways to stay in their system. Whites owe blacks nothing; only naive blacks think they do. Our most concerned and charismatic leaders have advocated separation (separate states for blacks to govern themselves), how much one-sided blood must we shed before we pay heed and act?

  6. I love our country, however it is the most corrupt country on earth, if we are not killing aboard,(20 years of that)the killings are escalating at home.It is a crime against humanity for the people of this country to allow the continual killing at home and abroad and I am ashamed of myself for not doing more and ashamed of my country.

  7. When I advocated for my son to be integrated into the mainstream at his school never in my wildest dream did I think parents would advocate for the death of their children. We must pursue to maintain and advocate for the life of our children. Read my latest story, What Did You Contribute___ MENTAL Illness. Visit http://nldrecognition.wordpress.com You are welcome to my blog. Read my ABOUT PAGE and do an ABOUT FACE and move FORWARD. Stop by my home Page and click on any title and see who is raising RUCKUS up in the house. NLD Mom/cancer survivor.


  9. The grade has changed and there is a New Face to the STATE OF THE UNION. Take a look at the ones who lives rest in a permanent state and paid the highest consequence with their life. We THE PEOPLE no longer want our hearts and mind to be in a state of confusion and chaos. Let the end results of these horrific carnages bring HOPE and CHANGE to the forefront and our children/adults are RECOGNIZED as the NUMBER ONE PRIORITY. LET FREEDOM RING. Visit http://nldrecognition.wordpress.com. Read WE ARE THE STATE OF THE UNION___GUN VIOLENCE, FROM MY HEART TO YOUR HEART, THE HILL HAS KNIVES, THE BODY COUNT ADDS UP, and WHAT DID THEY CONTRIBUTE?___MENTAL ILLNESS. Click on any title and make a comment. NLD Mom/cancer survivor Read and continue to learn.

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