I'm Dunn (But Not Really) With This: A Few Notes on Strategic Apathy and White Supremacy


AP Photo
AP Photo

Many people have asked me how I feel about the Michael Dunn case and the troubling verdict. I am quite vocal about race issues and general human equality so these inquiries come as no surprise. What is surprising, however, is my response to their questions: NOTHING. I feel absolutely and unapologetically nothing, and yet I simultaneously feel everything. In a world where White supremacy is wreaking physical and psychological havoc on people of color I, at times, choose what I term “strategic apathy” as a means of dealing, of coping, and as a means of living a full and happy life.
Strategic apathy is not a lack of care or concern, but it is a political choice to not fully engage as a self-preservation mechanism. It is a specific kind of momentary withdrawal where groups or individuals chose to live, laugh, and love in spite of all the reasons not to.
In the cases of Michael Dunn, the White man who was not convicted for the murder of Jordan Davis, Theodore Wafer, the White man who shot Renisha McBride when she knocked on his door looking for help, Randall Kerrick, the White officer who shot Jonathan Ferrell when he was looking for help post a car crash, and the too many others before them, I checked out. I was unable to emotionally invest in McBride and Ferrell in the same ways I had for Trayvon Martin and Megan Williams. But more than inability, I have been unwilling to subject myself, that is my emotional and mental health, to investing in a justice system that is both unable and unwilling to seek justice on behalf of Black people. The idea that Black life is only valuable as some(dangerous)THING to be propped up in service of White safety is not only problematic, played out, and physically dangerous it is downright psychological terrorism. And, that is the reason I, and I am sure many other Black folks, simply just CAN NOT at times.
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