On Saturday, a Jacksonville, Fla. jury convicted Michael Dunn on three counts of attempted murder for shooting into a car full of teenagers in 2012. Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old African American, was killed and Dunn, who is white, faced a charge of first-degree murder, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict on that charge.
In response, the hash tag #DangerousBlackKids emerged Sunday on Twitter, challenging the verdict and long-held stereotypes. It’s the latest example of push back by the community known as Black Twitter. Users posted photos of children, many of the adorable variety, with sarcastic messages about how they might be perceived as dangerous.
Dunn’s defense maintained that he felt his life was in danger when he fired the shots outside of a Jacksonville convenience store, following an argument with the teens over loud music. Because of the self-defense argument and national attention to Florida’s controversial stand your ground laws, the case has drawn comparisons to another prominent Florida trial — that of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder last July in the shooting death of an unarmed Trayvon Martin.
Some Twitter users questioned the intent of the hash tag and wondered if it would truly reach those who subscribe to the stereotypes the hash tag condemns.
The #dangerousblackkids tag is humanizing and important. But it’s enraging that we black people STILL have to PROVE our basic humanity.— DeliaChristina (@DeliaChristina) February 17, 2014
Mikki Kendall (@karnythia), who started the hash tag with @thewayoftheid, addressed the confusion in tweets Monday. Kendall, who co-founded Hoodfeminism.com has experience creating hash tags for Black Twitter to riff off of — she was behind the popular (and controversial) #solidarityisforwhitewomen.
Kendall also wrote about the hash tag on Hoodfeminism.
#DangerousBlackKids is not about proving our worthiness to live to those who would handwave our murders. It is not about being respectable enough to deserve life. It is about being human in public, with each other, for each other. It is a reminder to ourselves that we will never be the monsters society would like us to be, that we are complex, complicated, and eminently worthy of life because we are here. We will always be here. We will fuss, feud, fight, and be a family regardless of what outsiders want to see. Our children are precious to us, to their friends, to the communities that we inhabit. And no matter how many times we have to fight for them, or for ourselves, we will keep fighting for as long as it takes to win. Because we are always worth it.
Also on She The People: No justice for Jordan Davis, more worry for the parents of black children