Tonight, many in the world wait with baited breath as t the fate of a man whose guilt is not conclusive. Troy Davis has become the symbol of a miscarriage of justice. Davis, a 42 year old Black male, was convicted of murdering police officer Mark MacPhail. The case is quite controversial because no evidence linked Davis to the murder and the a guilty verdict was brought forth on the basis of eyewitness testimony from 9 people. However, 7 of the 9 people are now saying they lied or were coerced into giving a statement implicating Davis in the shooting. Two people have even named another person.
For many in the Black community and those in the South, this brand of justice is nothing new to us. Personally, it brings up a fear of mine — the fear of having sons.
More importantly, the fear of having Black sons.
As a young woman who is seriously contemplating having children in the future, no one should have to consider, “How do I teach my son the proper way to react to police?” or “When should I give my son the talk about the appropriate response to an office of the law demanding a search of their person or property?” This is my fear of hearing a doctor or doula report to me, “Congratulations! It’s a boy.” In that moment, I imaging that I would feel overwhelming joy and a comparable amount of apprehension.
One of the most unfortunate circumstances of our nation is that we live in a period of idealized “post-racialness.” In this time, people want to point out the advances we’ve made as a nation, and sometimes as a people, as evidence that race no longer plays a role in interactions between citizens and the law. People want to point to a nation of wealth and say the “have nots” have little because they don’t want more. People of color (and other groups of less privileged people) are facing the weight of not-so-invisible but never acknowledged oppression.
In this nation, young men of color are automatically painted as deviants. Laws and rules are written with much discretion and what has been passing as discretion is actually undercover and internalized prejudice. How do you raise a Black man in this environment?
Our boys are educated in a system that utilizes reading test scores from the 3rd and 4th grade to project the number of people who will lose their basic rights after becoming part of the prison populations. Our boys are introduced to the juvenile justice system through Zero-Tolerance Policies (or what are passing as ZTPs) before getting to high school. In this society, they are expected to embody stereotypical caricatures that seek to label them as the “bad” guy and their authenticity of Blackness is questioned; meanwhile, these very same caricatures make them targets of society. We live in a time and place where many Black would be given a sentence of death just because their innocence must be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt — and there will always be a shadow of a doubt.
This is why I fear raising a “Troy Davis.”
~Miss C Jayne
— If you have the time, take a moment and say a prayer on his behalf that clemency is granted. If you’re unwilling to do that, then my hope is that you at least examine your prejudice as to why you wouldn’t pray for a man who isn’t guilty. Then do your part to ensure that this injustice doesn’t happen to another man.