Merriam Webster defines submission as “the act of submitting” and to go further – the actual definition of submit is – to give over or yield to the power or authority of another. “
Some of you reading this right now, familiar with the term in the context of the “lifestyle” will recognize the term and its application as it being freely and willingly given to another.
As the odyssey that is the Jordan Davis trial winds down with the verdict as delivered last night – guilty on four counts: Attempted murder(3 counts), and the deadly missile count, with a mistrial on the first count of murder in the first degree that applied specifically to Jordan Davis – the tableau that has played out in the Florida court system the last few days, provided the world with a glimpse into the racism that has been as much a part of the fabric of this country as the purple mountain’s majesty above that storied fruited plain.
The inability for many whites to understand or comprehend the sense of outrage that is felt and held by many in the black community lies buried so deep within the construct of racism that many of them are not self-aware enough to realize it.
The belief of an innate superiority to – other races heck to other countries (American Exceptionalism anyone?), and through that belief the unconscious understanding that when placed in direct situations or engagements submission is the only suitable response. Deferring to the “better” more reputable, etc. The same superiority that was present when the laws governing this country were created without any consideration for anyone “outside” their realm of understanding.
This plays out every day in this country in board rooms, in schools, heck just driving down the street. It even takes place in the vaunted halls of Washington DC. Its manifestation in the Jim Crow south – where you had to “properly” address a white man who had the right and authority to call a man twice his own age “boy”. God forbid you should improperly address a white woman – you could get killed for that – oh wait many were – see Emmitt Till, et. Al.
In a political party that has made it their mission to focus on the same tenets that hearken back to the Jim Crow south – resulting in leaders who deny their own constituents access to health care, preferring instead to rail against a system that has always been at its base purpose an attempt to provide access to health care for those who need it the most – while at the same time alleviating the burden of cost for healthcare from the average citizen. However because of the Kenyan, Muslim, Marxist, president who will not SUBMIT to his betters our government has been gridlocked for years.
The talking points for the GOP have always had as a basis the concept of their being a higher understanding of how things work. This is why the whole pull yourself up by your bootstraps concept to this day is still extant. This is why there still is a belief in the “Welfare Queen” who supposedly has villas in Tuscany while collecting welfare checks that are paid for by hard working “White” Americans. This is why many feel a need to explain to the rest of us how things “need to be” or how things are supposed to be because of course being the higher authority it is what they are supposed to do.
Michael Dunn, upon seeing a car full of blacks who had the audacity to be playing music that was to HIS ears abhorrent, and worse loud, did exactly what anyone else who believed in the superiority of their position would do. Not just at the moment – but the superiority afforded by a system that was created for HIM and not US. The belief that his way of thinking – in this case that he had a right to ask people in a car minding their own business to turn their music down and to further engage them when he had a choice to ignore them – but his authority would not allow him to. That and the drinks he had prior to arriving at the gas station.
His belief in his self-importance played out in the days leading up to the trial and even during his testimony at the trial. He was combative and his tone suggested that he KNEW what he was talking about and what he says goes and should not be in question.
In other words Jordan Davis and the other three individuals in the car should have submitted to his authority – and as I have seen in various places on the internet – if they had only submitted and done what he said things would have turned out differently.
So says those who feel like they have the authority to explain to what they feel are their “lesser” how things go and how things are supposed to be. From explaining how we are supposed to dress, wear our hair, the music that we are supposed to listen to and what we are supposed to do with our bodies and ourselves this mindset present when this country was formed has not changed.
This belief that anyone who is “other” should submit was the guiding principle of the so-called “manifest destiny” that led to the “Trail of Tears” and other atrocities visited on the Native Americans who’s land was taken from them because – “they don’t know what to do with it, we need it, they are only savages” To this day that belief can be seen in the stubborn refusal by the owner of the Washington Redskins to change the name which the Native Americans themselves have expressed as being racially insensitive, and culturally insulting. I guess the owner is waiting for them to remember what happened to the last time the “great father” asked them to submit and they wouldn’t.
The black community knows all too well the construct of racism that has been prevalent in this country from the time we were brought here till today. There are far too many lives that have been lost to it and too many living – selling out their own brothers and sisters to it not to.
The question then becomes what now? Knowing that it exists means nothing if there are no actions taken to counteract it.
Will leave you with the words of W.E.B. Du Bois – from “The Souls of Black Folks” –
Daily the Negro is coming more and more to look upon law and justice, not as protecting safeguards, but as sources of humiliation and oppression. The laws are made by men who have little interest in him; they are executed by men who have absolutely no motive for treating the black people with courtesy or consideration;
And when we are on the wrong side of the law –
“And, finally, the accused law-breaker is tried, not by his peers, but too often by men who would rather punish ten innocent Negroes than let one guilty one escape.”