Chris Dorner, Black Folk & What America Needs To Learn

February 13, 2013  |  

Source: AP Images

On Tumblr, I follow some very militant black folk. Yesterday, and really for the past week and a half, I’ve seen some very extreme posts in support of Chris Dorner. In a series of posts, one woman said she wanted Chris Dorner to win, to get away, that those people, his victims, deserved to die. No, baby. If we can all agree on one thing, it’s that Dorner’s victims did not deserve to die.  That’s not the answer. Chris Dorner killed the daughter of the police chief who defended him in his case against the LAPD and her fiancé. That’s in addition to the two police officers he killed. If the LAPD fired him unjustly or for some racially motivated vendetta, they don’t deserve to die. And even if they did, it’s not Dorner’s decision to make.

In all of this, it’s clear that Dorner is mentally unstable, a sociopath who succumbed to evil in an attempt to avenge himself against what he claimed was years of racism. All of that being said though, I couldn’t help but empathize with him. While I would never defend Dorner’s method, being black in America affords you the “opportunity” to identify, in one way or another, with his story. How many of us have been mistreated, overlooked or blatantly disrespected simply because of our blackness? In his manifesto, which Dorner wrote to explain his actions, he said that since elementary school, he’d grown up in predominately white environments where he was often the victim of racism. Though the media has said that Dorner’s manifesto was an extensive rambling, full of incoherent thoughts and media shout outs; how many of us can relate to that story of growing up in or coming to work in a racist environment?

I have a friend who, in high school, transferred to a predominately white, private school and went through all types of hell, culminating in one of his classmates spitting on him in the hallway. It sounds like something from the ‘50s or ‘60s, but this was in the early 2000s. Would he have been wrong to retaliate? Maybe, who knows? But if he decided to strangle his classmate, (He didn’t.), you would understand his reaction. Racism is still very much alive in this country. It’s not a stretch for me to imagine the LAPD, or any other law enforcement agency for that matter, being discriminatory. They have plenty of history to support that claim. Like Dorner, I don’t believe the racism and discrimination against blacks stopped with Rodney King.  And over time, these repeated incidents of disrespect, unfairness and human indecency can work on a sane person’s nerves, patience, and compassion. It can gradually enrage you.  Yet, despite centuries of enslavement and subsequent racial injustices, black folks are expected to just endure it, forget it and move on, be above it. It was Audre Lorde who said, “Oppressors always expect the oppressed to extend to them the understanding so lacking in themselves.” That was just too much to ask of Chris Dorner and I get it.

I get it the same way I can understand Nat Turner rising up. It’s the reason I loved Django as much as I did. (Who wasn’t rooting for him to win?)  True, Dorner has been afforded far more opportunities and didn’t have it nearly as bad as the men I just mentioned. But the attitudes that contributed to Dorner’s mistreatment are akin to the mentality that made it okay to enslave blacks in this country, to legally consider them less than human and then torment them once they were freed. They’re the same attitudes that make the killing of an unarmed, black teenager remotely arguable in the court of law.

There’s a lot this country has to learn about racism and its detrimental effects to not only its victims but also its perpetrators. And in a completely unnecessary, sick, twisted and immoral way, I think that’s what Dorner was trying to do.

Joy DeGruy, an educator and author who writes and teaches about “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome” said that even Thomas Jefferson, who is widely regarded as racist, knew that Americans, both black, white and people in between, would struggle with the effects of slavery. In an interview with “Like It Is,”  a local, public affairs television show DeGruy explained Jefferson’s position:

Thomas Jefferson was fully aware of what the impact of—the long term impact of enslavement would be—on white people and black people. He talked about the horror associated with what slave masters did. And that their children imitated the behavior among their friends and younger children that were enslaved. And that that built into a sickness on the part of Europeans and a hatred and antipathy on the part of Africans. And his greatest fear is that it would end in the extermination on one or the other race. He says because God cannot side with us, meaning Europeans, in this contest. He cannot side with us which means God will side with them. He says ‘Indeed, I tremble for my country when I consider that God is just and that His justice cannot sleep forever.’ So Thomas Jefferson not only knew at the time the wrongness associated, but recognized the long term impact.”

What saddens me most about this whole Dorner incident is that innocent people died in his attack against institutionalized racism. And not only did innocent people die, I fear that because of the way he went about accomplishing his mission that America will simply disregard him as an angry, crazy, dangerous big, black man instead of an extreme representation of the feelings, sentiments and grievances black people in this country have been harboring for centuries.

Trending on MadameNoire

View Comments
Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • guest

    Thats why as a people we r always going to be on the bottom. If he felt that he was fired becsusr of racism. Then you sue. Killing some one is never the answer. How can u ppl justify taking a life. There is never a good reason to kill ppl. Wow this is what we sre now. Cosigning killing innocent ppl and sayong that it is ok. Thats why white ppl hate us and thid is y i hate us sometimes. Sometimes we are pure ignorant. IDIOTS
    Cosign that.

    • b.lvl

      I don’t agree with Chris Dorner’s actions, but your comment has so much ignorance…. Dorner tried the court system route and that ended with an unsatisfactory result. As for “white people hating us” and anyone else, when has man ever needed a reason to hate another? As a matter of fact, I saw many “white people” excusing his actions on Facebook and beyond–so they have only themselves to hate, per your logic. Don’t project your issues and idiotic hang-ups onto others. Cosign a pocket dictionary, too.

  • get real

    Man, these cops come into inner cities around the country shooting and killing innocentunarmed black menteens on a daily basis with no problem, but when people shoot back at them you wanna call them crazy. Give me a break. When I see cops shot dead, I give it a *Kanye Shrug* and keep it moving.

  • progressive minister

    What we must understand is that a good man may have been turned bad by a corrupt system. We have allowed police departments and the whole criminal justice system to victimize blacks for too long. The hatred that exist between blacks and law enforcement around the U.S. isn’t just something black people woke up from a good nights sleep ad decided to do. it is easy for blacks to understand what Mr. Dorner did because most of us havd been through something like what he went through. Lets not view every situation as the media would like us to. If this is as it seems, which is a young man who served his country tried to do something right and was black balled Then it should be address by blacks. We cannot cotinue to teach our children to do right in a world tha will certainly wrong them. Lets focus on the root of th evil. Mr. Dorner was only a leaf that fed from te root. I am deeply sadden that the evil speaded to innocent victims.

  • FromUR2UB

    This whole thing was sad, any way you look at it. I believe the claims he made. I just think he cracked under the pressure of a ruined career and reputation, made some tragic decisions. I imagine that finding another job wasn‘t going well either. He didn’t seem to have anybody close to him, who might have been able to diffuse his anger, or might have given him a reason to hold on. Even if he had made no claims of racism, I’m pretty sure that once he reported his supervisor, the department closed ranks on him. We like to believe that the truth will always prevail and right wrongs, but when you’re dealing with people who are ruthless and possibly unethical in the first place, they can refuse to acknowledge evidence or documentation. People corroborate each other’s stories, so that by the time they’re finished, they can effectively establish someone as a disgruntled whackjob and liar. The easiest way to dismiss someone is by calling him/her crazy. That’s what they did with the guy who Dorner said was kicked in the face; the investigation was closed, stating the man wasn’t a credible witness to his own beating, because of schizophrenia!

    Dorner was definitely wrong in the way he acted upon his anger, but I can’t help but feel some sadness for how his life played out. People who’ve never endured bullying of any kind, can’t relate to that kind of empathy.

  • nursej

    Well said

  • mshenry70

    He was a brilliant writer who happened to be a
    murdering piece of crap who executed four innocent people, one of whom
    was a black man because he got fired. If he had been able to keep his
    job as a police officer, he would have continued to ignore the
    corruption in the LAPD. So please stop making this twisted fool a martyr
    for the black cause. The LAPD has been corrupt every since they
    recruited racist Southern white males and put them on the streets of Los
    Angeles to beat the hell out of Blacks and Latinos so when he made the
    decision to become a police officer, he knew exactly what he was getting

  • WhoMe

    Ok what black person would willingly worked for the LAPD? Thats the most racist police dept in the country.

  • Mia

    Beautifully written. Veronica is the best writer here, always makes u think.

  • SMHgurl24

    Whoever believed what he did was because he was a victim of racism is as blind as the idiot who wrote this article. This had nothing to do with racism. Here is a man who loved his country and saw the horrid injustice that was happening between those in power and those who weren’t. Sure racism played a part but that wasnt the reason for his maddness. we are being fed lies by both the media and the government. Citizens are no longer being protected, we are being labeled terrorist. Thats whats hes trying to get accross, this isn’t just about the lapd its about every corrupt system we put not only our money into but our lives.

    • SMHgurl24

      As for the victims my heart truly goes out to their families but what I find pretty sickening is the fact that we kill hundreds of innocents a month overseas and yet I dont see people getting all up in arms about that.. Smh I guess ignorance is bliss

  • Missfitt

    It is unfortunate…Innocent people are killed every day by LAPD, they were on a shooting rampage trying to silence this man and LAPD was not concerned about protecting and serving the community at all. We speak of his actions but why not speak of the actions LAPD has taken before and after in trying to apprehend him. He “allegedly” killed 3 people…this is america isn’t it? what happened to innocent till proven guilty? I cant say that I agree with him, but I understand…No one not even the police has the right to take life. In this instance I dont feel sorry for the victms…”sins of the father”….Exodus 34:7

  • always casualties of war

    • SMHgurl24

      THIS!! There is absolutely no excuse for citizens to compare this to a war but there are. Its time to wake up America. The dreams over..

  • JustSayin

    Here is the thing…He was not convicted of any crime! Not one crime. It is a shame that the media is able to release information and twist it the way they want to. His letter? He stated his opinions. He did not confess to murdering anyone. No one knows the true relationship or what really happened. One thing that is for sure is that… this man, Christopher Dorner was able to literally watch the search while hiding out in a cabin for six days. He has military experience and very intelligent. The only evidence they have that links him to the murders is his items in a garbage can near by. Do you HONESTLY feel that a military and LAPD trained man would do something that silly? Really? Seriously?

    • Lisa

      He called and taunted the one guy about killing his daughter.

      • SMHgurl24

        That actually turned out to be a lie

  • FB

    To be honest, I don’t believe he is dead. He is a smart man who probably had planned his action for days if not weeks or months. Until they have DNA evidence, he crazy butt is alive.

    • This World

      I don’t believe he is dead either. and I DO NOT BELIEVE IT IS CLEAR HE IS A SOCIOPATH!
      Only in the US of A are people seen as psychotic and crazy for speaking out against things that go against their truth. walking into a movie theater and openly just blasting bullets one thing, beating a man to death with your bare hands because he molested your daughter NOT CRAZY. Unless you were in america, you’d probably get 10-20.

      • FAMURattler85


  • Guest360

    I’m sorry but it’s hard for me to feel sympathy, empathy, or even be remotely understanding of his position given the horror he caused to a community. Racism or no, that doesn’t give you the right to KILL multiple people on some false sense of “vengeance”. Especially people who had nothing to do with the situation. I don’t think it’s fair to compare what our ancestors had to endure and what he went through. They had a reason to fight back. They had a reason to rise up. He did not. Being fired from your job is not a reason to go vigilante and on a killing spree. I’m absolutely disgusted that some would even try to defend his actions under the guise of “racism made him do it”.

    • Sherita

      Amen! Killing people was NOT the way to get your point across.

    • blkrazor

      Right on the money

  • Patricia

    The LAPD should have been investigated this. They decided to investigate after people lost their lives. What Dorner did was wrong in killing these people. Racism is still alive. I think the shoe should be on the other foot of whites so they can see what we as a beautiful black people face everyday.

  • SunshineBlossom

    And that hits the nail on the head. What the so-called “supporters” don’t understand is that these victims weren’t necessarily the cops theirselves, but the RELATIVES of such, people who probably never even met him before. That someone’s son or daughter that was needlessly murdered. I’m sorry but in this case, I don’t care what type of racism there was (and it’s the LAPD, let’s be real for a moment, they have always been racist), he needs to atone for the innocent lives he took. And if that was the case there were plenty of other “accepting states” that have police agencies.

  • Kenedy

    I truly hope that after all this, the LAPD will be investigated like they should be