‘Black Forgiveness’ Is Absent From Reactions To Ahmaud Arbery’s Killing

Ahmaud Arbery's mother wants her son's killers to get the death penalty, a departure from the reactions we've seen from other families of unarmed Black men killed by white folks.



One response that’s become familiar following the shooting of unarmed Black people has been decidedly absent in the conversation about the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. While victims’ family members have many times readily forgiven their relatives’ killers, this time around there is no mention of any kind of forgiveness from Abery’s family, let alone a nation of outraged Black folks who continue to see people who look like them be slaughtered with impunity by police and civilians alike.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite from Arbery’s mother, who has openly called for the death penalty for Gregory and Travis McMichael, the father and son who profiled the 25-year-old jogger, armed themselves and hunted him down with the sole objective of killing him.


“Coming from my point of view, my son died, so they should die as well,” Wanda Cooper-Jones told TMZ on Tuesday.


Pictured: Jasmine Arbery, sister of Ahmaud Arbery (right), and Wanda Cooper-Jones, Ahmaud’s mother, comfort one another while people gather to honor Ahmaud at Sidney Lanier Park on May 9, 2020, in Brunswick, Georgia. | Source: Sean Rayford / Getty


That sentiment seemed to be echoed across social media and in sharply worded opinion pieces that followed.


To be sure, it seems like we haven’t seen this much anger following the shooting of an unarmed Black man since former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger broke into the home of Botham Jean and killed the 26-year-old as he sat on his sofa eating ice cream in 2018.

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Fred L. Davis, Memphis Civil Rights Activist, Official And Businessman Who Marched With Dr. King, Dies At 86

Written By NEWSONE.COM Staff 


While death is inevitably a part of life, that truth doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye to those who have died. This running file commemorating some of the notable Black folks who have died in 2020 is meant to pay homage to their contributions in life that will live on well after their deaths.


Memphis civil rights activist, city councilmember and businessman Fred L. Davis, who marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during a historic labor strike, died on Tuesday following an illness. Davis made history when he was elected the Memphis City Council in 1967, joining two other newly elected Black people as the city’s first African American council members. The next year, when the city’s sanitation workers protested their working conditions and low pay, Davis and King were among those marching in the workers’ support. Davis also opened one of the first Black-owned insurance companies in the south. In addition, he and his wife worked to desegregate the city’s schools.

Davis’ death followed a brutal spate of devastating losses from the music world.


Betty Wright, the award-winning R&B soul singer whose signature song went on to become a sampling standard in hip-hop music, died Sunday morning. She was 66 years old. Wright, whose cause of death was not immediately reported, had a career that spanned decades and evolved from its gospel roots to rhythm and blues to pop, the latter of which won her a pair of Grammy Awards.

As Bossip noted, Wright’s hit song from 1971, “Clean Up Woman,” has been sampled in music by contemporary artists ranging from Mary J Blige to Beyonce and still stands the test of time as a classic song in its own right.

Legally Armed Black Citizens Patrol White Neighborhood Where Ahmaud Arbery Was Killed

The show of force came as there have been calls for more Black people to arm themselves.

By Bruce C.T. Wright – NEWSONE.COM

The protests in Georgia sparked by the killing of Ahmaud Arbery bore a number of similarities to the others we’ve seen following what seems like a neverending string of controversial shootings of unarmed Black men by white people. But in the rural town of Brunswick — where father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael racially profiled Arbery before getting their guns, hopping in a truck, hunting him down and killing him in the middle of a road in broad daylight — there is one key difference the separates the protests there from others: demonstrators were armed.


And not only were they armed, but they were also legally armed Black citizens who came out to protest in the town’s Satilla Shores neighborhood where the McMicheals are accused of murdering Arbery in February. It’s a neighborhood that is very white and conservative, as seen in images from the protests that show Trump-Pence 2020 signs on homes’ lawns.


Source: Sean Rayford / Getty


Likely sensing that the neighborhood’s residents didn’t want the protesters there — especially the armed ones — one of the Black men who were carrying machine guns seemed to almost dare someone to say something about them being there.

“You think they would have shot me if I was running through they goddamn neighborhood?” the man who, like the other armed protesters, was wearing a camouflage bulletproof vest and a mask to conceal most of his face, asked rhetorically. “Well I’mma give them an opportunity,” he added while walking toward the protest.

One local news outlet identified the men as being members of the Black Panther Party.

Georgia gun laws allow for legally licensed individuals to openly bear arms in public even if there is no apparent cause for self-defense.

The armed citizens legally protesting Arbery’s death came as there have been calls for more Black people to arm themselves because of continued consequences from the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected Black people well beyond the health spectrum. As Nylah Burton, a Black woman, wrote for ESSENCE, the combination of the way law enforcement tried to sweep Arbery’s death under the rug; the recent series of police brutality over nonviolent social distancing violations; and the armed militias storming statehouses across the country have left her reluctantly considering getting a gun.

Source: Sean Rayford / Getty


“I believe that for many Black people, especially those living in predominantly white areas, firearms might prove necessary,” Burton wrote in part. “And not just for defense, but for food sustainability, which will become more important as the climate crisis worsens.”


These groups of legally armed Black citizens could begin popping up more and more if this country’s uncertain and divided racial trajectory is any indication. It happened in Michigan when a group of legally armed citizens escorted State Rep. Sarah Anthony into the State Capitol building as the aforementioned militia swarmed in protest of not re-opening the state after months of being in lockdown.

Black people have been against the premature reopening of states because Black folks are the ones who are disproportionately dying from and contracting the coronavirus and prefer to be more prudent for the sake of public health. On the contrary, the lion share of the anti-lockdown protesters has appeared to be white and very eager to re-open the country despite health concerns from experts and evidence that the second wave of COVID-19 is looming.


The Black Panther Party figures prominently into this conversation because of its history rallying at the California Statehouse in the 1960s. At the time, the police reacted with force. It was a stark contrast to the peaceful reaction shown by cops in Michigan when armed protesters yelled in their faces and openly threatened them.


Alas, this is America.

Remote Learning Lets Black And Brown Parents ‘Educate Our Children As We See Fit’ And ‘Offer Counter-Stories’

The coronavirus has brought hardship, but it's also given parents of color a chance to teach their children counter-narratives not written from a white perspective.

 By Monisha Bajaj – NEWSONE.COM

My 6-year-old hates the British. To be more specific, the British Empire that ruled over up to a quarter of the world’s land by the early 1900s. Hates that one of the biggest diamonds in the world, found in India over 1,000 years ago, now sits in the queen’s set of crown jewels. Hates that they drew up borders quickly and exited South Asia in the 1940s, resulting in the death of millions, and making his grandfather and great-grandparents refugees in the newly formed nation of India.


How does my 6-year-old know all about this? Well, because we talk about it and have a lot of books at home. We have always read books about South Asian culture and history. And now that we have more flexible schedules since we have to work at home – and the kiddo has to do school at home – we have even more time together. He naturally gravitates to the books with characters that look like him.


As a scholar of multicultural education, I know that children are able to understand complex issues, like racism, if they are broken down and explained in a way that they can grasp. So, when books talk about subjects like segregation, slavery, colonialism or sexism, my partner and I explain those terms as best we can.

A different worldview

Conversations about world history in our home go a little like this:


Parent: “People from Europe really liked the spices and cloth from South Asia, so they wanted to go there to buy stuff.”


Kiddo: “Even Christopher Columbus was lost and trying to find India, right?”


Parent: “Right! Europeans went to South Asia, first to trade and buy things. But then they wanted more power, and the British decided to take over and bully people around.”


Kiddo: “How did they bully them?”


Parent: “They made people give them money (land-taxes), didn’t let them make their own clothes to wear, and didn’t even let them make salt out of the water in the sea next to where they lived!”


Ben Crump Lists The Chilling Similarities Between Ahmaud Arbery And Trayvon Martin Shootings

In a podcast interview, the lawyer compares the two cases.

 By Royce Dunmore – NEWSONE.COM

The fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery has once again brought to light racist vigilantism in the United States and how killers can use the argument of “self-defense” as a way to hide behind the law.

Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) for the killing of Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, back in February. They assumed he was a neighborhood burglar and they hopped inside a truck, armed with a .357 magnum revolver and a shotgun, to chase down a jogging Arbery. A confrontation in the middle of the road led to Arbery getting shot twice in the chest with a third bullet grazing his right wrist, according to an autopsy. A video of the incident was released last week sparking outrage, and now leaders are vying for a grand jury to convene so that Travis and Gregory can be indicted.

The attorney for Arbery’s family, Benjamin Crump, noted that there are chilling similarities between Arbery’s case and the case of another unarmed pedestrian killed by a vigilante.

Trayvon Martin was shot and killed on Feb. 26, 2012, by George Zimmerman, a then-neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida. Martin was only 17 years old when he died and he would have been 26 in February of this year. Crump also backed Martin’s family during the tumultuous early 2010s period that inspired a Movement fo Black Lives. This makes Crump an expert in outlining the uncanny, yet sad similarities between Martin and Arbery in an interview with Jonathan Capehart on The Washington Post‘s Cape Up podcast.

Crump explained:

“When you think about the fact that both of them were killed in the month of February—Trayvon on February 26, 2012, and Ahmaud on February 23, 2020.  The fact that both of them would have been 26 years old this year had they still been living. The fact that both of them were accused of burglary, even though there was no evidence to support anything of the sort. The fact that both of their killers had guns, yet they were unarmed, and both of their killers are advancing some type of self-defense ‘stand your ground’ argument.”

Before recusing himself from the case, prosecutor George Barnhill tried to argue that Gregory and his son Travis were protected under Georgia’s citizen’s arrest statute. In a letter to the Glynn County Police Department, Barnhill argued that Gregory and Travis had been legally carrying their weapons under Georgia law and because Arbery was a “burglary suspect,” they had “solid firsthand probable cause” to chase Arbery under the state’s citizen’s arrest law. When Travis and Arbery struggled with his shotgun, which can be seen in the video, Barnhill argued that Travis and Gregory acted in self defense when gunshots went off.

With support from Barnhill’s argument — along with the fact that a grand jury wasn’t in session to indict the McMichael’s because of coronavirus lockdowns — Travis and Gregory spent over two months not being arrested. Similarly, George Zimmerman was released from police custody the day of Martin’s death because police said there was no evidence to refute Zimmerman’s claim that he acting in self defense when he pursued and shot Martin — a kid he suspected to be a burglar.

Crump noted the similarities: “The fact that both of their killers, Trayvon Martin killer got to go home and sleep in his bed at night, after he shot and killed him in that gated community, in Sanford, Florida, alleging some type of burglary allegation, and then in Ahmaud Arbery, his killer shot and killed him and they got to go home and sleep in their beds at night, after advancing some kind of allegation about burglary in the Satilla Shores community in Brunswick, Georgia.” 

Crump continued with his seventh similarity: “The fact that both the prosecutors in the cases—in Sanford, Florida, the local prosecutor recused himself because some alleged conflict of interest, then, in Brunswick, Georgia, the local prosecutor recused herself because of some alleged conflict of interest.”


Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper, fought for prosecutor Barnhill to recuse himself from the case after she discovered that his son works in the Brunswick district attorney’s office, which had previously employed Gregory McMichael. Another Brunswick district attorney, Jackie Johnson, also recused herself because McMichael had worked in her office.


The case eventually went to Tom Durden of Hinesville, Georgia, who failed to move the case forward until the viral video spark national outcry and action. Durden then got the GBI involved, which led to the arrests of Gregory and Travis McMichael along with further investigations. Now, a special prosecutor has replaced Durden — Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes.

In his comparison of Arbery’s case and Martin’s case, Crump ended by saying that both involved a pursuit, however, one could be witnessed by the world via an audio recording and the other could be witnessed via a video recording.


“You have evidence of a pursuit—objective evidence of a pursuit in both cases,” Crump explained. “With Trayvon, you have audio evidence; we hear the chase, and you hear the shot that kills Trayvon. Well, the big difference in Ahmaud Arbery, we get to physically see the pursuit with our eyes in that horrific video, where they chase him and then they kill him, with that shotgun being pumped.  And so that is the big difference in these cases.”


In a Monday statement, Holmes said that her office seeks to present Arbery’s case to a grand jury for an indictment while acknowledging that the courts are closed through June 12. However, according to USA Today, she said her team “will work as expeditiously as possible to move the case forward.”