Las Vegas Sun

October 1, 2014

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letter to the editor:

A closer look at race and attitudes

I believe the jurors came to a just decision against Michael Dunn in the Jordan Davis murder case. However, if race was a component in the incident, then Eugene Robinson’s Wednesday column “I’m black; don’t shoot me” provides a basis to believe that the boys in the car, not Dunn, introduced that racial component.

Despite what Robinson implies, there is little evidence that Dunn was racially motivated when he fired the shots. There was no evidence that Dunn made any reference to the teenagers’ race before the shooting. The fact that Dunn expressed a dislike for “thug music” does not mean he dislikes black teenagers any more than a person’s dislike of “country music” means she dislikes cowboys. Moreover, a black juror who was interviewed after the verdict said the jury did not consider race to be a factor.

Robinson says Dunn “complained to the teenagers about the music.” The boys turned down the volume “but then turned it back up again.” Defending the boys’ decision to turn up the volume, Robinson, who is black, continues, “I am not aware of any law that says young black men have to follow orders from every random white man who comes along.”

That is an unfortunate remark for a man of Robinson’s stature to make. Indeed, if the teenagers harbored Robinson’s mindset (i.e., that they need not follow orders from a random “white man”), then it is plausible that the teenagers turned up the volume specifically because they resented that white man and sought to exacerbate the situation.

If anything, Robinson’s comments illustrate that both black people and white people need to examine their attitudes toward one another.

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