Let ‘The Daily Show’ Explain the Michael Dunn Trial and ‘Fear Goggles’

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On The Daily Show last night, Jon Stewart tried to make sense of the Michael Dunn trial. You know, the one where a white Florida man was not convicted of first-degree murder for shooting and killing a 17-year-old black teenager. Actually, that describes a number of cases. So to figure out how this managed to happen once again, Stewart brought on Senior Correspondent Jessica Williams to explain what she calls, “the cherry on top of the shit sundae that is Black History month.”

Maybe it’s simply confusion. Maybe white people in America just don’t know what Black History month means. So Williams sorts it out: “You do know Black History month is not like deer season or turkey season right? It’s not the month when you’re allowed to shoot black people.”

But Williams has a better explanation for the Dunn trial: “fear goggles.” What are they, exactly? “The lens through which chronically terrified white people look at black kids,” Williams says.

For example, fear goggles transform this:

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into this:

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Which might explain how the Dunn and Trayvon Martin cases happened. See, “Once you put on fear goggles, you’ll hit anything with a bullet,” Williams says.

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To defend against fear goggles, Williams lays out some “curriculum” for black teenagers that they can actually use, which includes things like, “If you’re at home, stay at home – don’t go wandering into the street where you might scare a white person” and “Don’t hang out with your friends anymore. The only thing ‘scarier’ than one black kid is a whole pack of them.”

Along with fear goggles, of course, is the whole "Stand Your Ground" thing in Florida. Well, Williams has something to say about that, too: "The Stand Your Ground defense is like bleach: it works miracles for whites, but it will ruin your colors."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.