Sociology professor says Dunn trial viewed through racial lens

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A UNF Assistant Professor of Sociology says race is definitely a factor in the Michael Dunn trial and the social implications of the case are on the minds of many people not just in Jacksonville but also around the nation.

Sociology Analyst Dr. JeffriAnne Wilder says even though people don't want to talk about it, the Michael Dunn trial is being viewed through a racial lens.

"The irony is Jordan Davis' parents have been very clear on not making this about race," said Wilder. "Where as Michael Dunn has made this very much about race."

In letters written by Michael Dunn from jail, he says he's not sure if he should feel like the victim of reverse discrimination. He goes on to say, "the blacks seem to be calling the shots in the media and the courts."

"It's really interesting that the tables are turned and people still don't see that as something that's being very much racialized," said Wilder.

She says Dunn is painting a clear picture with his letters. In one sent to First Coast News Anchor Heather Crawford, Dunn wrote:

"This case has never been about loud music. This case is about a local thug threatening to kill me because I dared to ask him to turn the music down." Dunn goes on to say, "I am not a murderer. I am a survivor."

"He uses race as a justification, in my mind at least, as to why he had to commit this crime," said Wilder. "He sees himself as defending against a group of thugs. Who don't in his mind have any citizenship or humanity or personhood. Just people who are menaces to society."

In her classroom, during discussions Wilder says the majority of her students believe the court will rule in Dunn's favor. She says their opinions are based on past cases such as the George Zimmerman verdict and their own experiences.

"I would say to those who think it's not about race that in their mind that is the case for them but you can't ignore the very large number of people whose life is about race on a regular basis," said Wilder.

RELATED LINK: Full coverage of the Michael Dunn trial

Wilder, a scholar who specializing in diversity, race relations and gender issues says this is not a black or white issue, race still matters for many individuals in our society and that's really the greater issue that's hovering over this case.


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