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Strange Reactions to Strange Fruit

While the investigation into Otis Byrd’s hanging death is ongoing, the court of public opinion is already rushing to judgment.

The same week that rapper A$AP Ferg declared that “racism been over,” Otis James Byrd’s decomposing body was found hanging from a tree in Claiborne County, Mississippi. The media speculated as to whether this was a possible suicide, but not unlike when a black or brown person dies in police custody amidst claims of self-inflicted gunshots while handcuffed behind the back, there are those among us who have a familiar, sinking feeling of where this is headed.

The FBI has asked for patience as 30 investigators pore over the details of the case. Yet, especially for us blacks, the pain is in the waiting. This feels all too much like waiting on the now-tainted Ferguson grand jury to announce its non-indictment of Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Mike Brown. Just get it the hell over with. Such a delay feels like adding insult to injury with a well-established precedent, the promise of liberty and justice for all but us.

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Chapel Hill Victim’s Fundraiser For Syrian Refugees Recieves More Than $110,000 in Donations

Thousands of supporters are donating money to Deah Barakat’s fundraising campaign after his murder.

Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

Deah Barakat was murdered in his own North Carolina home, alongside his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha by their neighbor. Before he was killed, the 23-year-old Syrian-American and dental student was raising funds for the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS). He had been planning to go to Turkey himself, with a team of University of North Carolina faculty members, to provide dental care to Syrian refugees who had been stranded there.

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For decades, commenters on all things wrong with black America have pointed with an enmity similar to that of Michael Dunn to the negative influence of hip hop culture. From C. Delores Tucker to Bill Cosby to Bill O'Reilly, many decry that hip hop draws its listeners to moral depravity, lawlessness, early death. The killing, ostensibly over music, of Jordan Davis proved these critics right. Michael Dunn shot right through the music, and hit Davis' liver, lung, and aorta.

Social justice communities must be careful not to replicate the blame game endemic of the culture wars. We should mourn for Jordan Davis, and our anger should be placed on the system that facilitated Michael Dunn.

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