I DO NOT forgive Dylann Roof, a racist terrorist whose name I hate saying or knowing. I have no immediate connection to what happened in Charleston, S.C., last week beyond my humanity and my blackness, but I do not foresee ever forgiving his crimes, and I am wholly at ease with that choice.
—Why I Can’t Forgive Dylann Roof – The New York Times
You do not have to trigger yourself into “proving” you are a real “activist” by hyper-consuming Black death via State violence day after day, especially since it is the most violent myth that said perpetual consumption is necessary for “awareness” of what you are already aware of, no less. You can take a break to value Black life. You can value Black life as radical praxis, actually. You do not have to center non-Black people over your own survival to “prove” your “progressiveness” while tolerating their anti-Blackness and erasure as their “praxis.” You are not their microphones. You do not have to toleratemicroaggressive/abusive and violent White allies when you feel safer and healthier being away from them. There is no solidarity/allyship where there is anti-Blackness. I know people on Tumblr/Twitter/Earth think Blackness is in a perpetual state of arrears where our labor and our very bodies as representative of labor/products/services are all we are worth and what we perpetually owe them.
I am truly tired of Black bodies, Black labor and Black hypervisibility being viewed as a resource to be excavated and consumed by non-Black people. If you make a blog that is all goddamn selfies and that is every single post, I am here for it.
Do you know that the first act of self-care for us as Black people might be recognizing that we deserve to be cared for in the first place? Seen as human? Especially Black women. Because we more than anyone encounter the idea that our only “worth” as people is finite and measured by how much people can use and consume us. And by self-care, I do not mean solely consumption in a capitalistic sense (though that is not non-Black people’s place to critique how you self-care, especially since many of them refuse to examine how anti-Blackness shapes their perception of what is “hyper-consumptive” or “capitalistic,” and how comfortable they are with Black people suffering), but simply realizing that you can say “NO.”
“No, I won’t consume specific images of Black death on a permanent media loop as everyone uses our bodies to further their careers.” Or “no, I won’t co-sign using Black bodies as rhetorical devices to recenter non-Black people.” Or as a Black woman/Black LGBTQIA person, “no, I simply do not want to attend a particular community event this evening about State violence since no one does anything to secure my safety from intraracial street harassment or sexual violence while there.”Or, “no, you cannot use my content to further your career as you slander my actual methods of discourse on social media.”
“No” is radical self-care. Self-care is not selfish.
—Gradient Lair | Saying “No” as Black Self-Care
I think what is so utterly depressing is that none of the ambiguities that existed in the Ferguson case exist in the Staten Island case. And yet the outcome is exactly the same: no crime, no trial; all harm, no foul.
At least in the Ferguson case you had conflicting witness testimony; you had conflicting forensics. You had the spectre, at least, of police self-defense. But (in the Eric Garner case), there is none of that. The coroner called it a homicide. The guy’s not acting threatening and we know that not through witness testimony (of) unreliable bystanders, but because we are fucking watching it. Someone taped it.
A couple of days ago, the White House proposed more cameras on cop vests as a solution to this type of violence. I assume that the solution that they’re proposing, if implemented, would look something the Eric Garner case.
… We are definitely not living in a post-racial society, and I can imagine there are a lot of people imagining what kind of society we’re living in at all.
—JON STEWART, The Daily Show
(via because i am a woman)
Reserving this kind of special treatment for white police officers charged with killing black suspects cannot be an appropriate resolution.
—Jeffrey Toobin on the grand-jury proceedings in Ferguson
I have been schooled in elite, predominantly white settings for most of my life. As of late, I can’t shake the feeling that much of this process, this everyday violence operating under the guise of access or achievement or inclusion, was geared toward making me into someone who is very, very good at making white folks feel safe. I have known for years that this labor would not save me from death at the hands of police officer or vigilante, but only as of late has it occurred to me that this very desire to be a non-threatening, respectable subject is in many ways a refusal of life itself. Which pushes me to think, now more than ever, about the ways I might teach students, and maybe even children one day, how to navigate an anti-black world while straining against even its most basic terms, how to help them survive without the mask.
—Square Dancing with Giants
No matter what the grand jury does, let us remember that true justice will come only when our criminal injustice system is radically transformed: when we no longer have militarized police forces, wars on our communities, a school-to-prison pipeline, and police departments that shoot first and ask questions later. True justice will be rendered not when when a single “guilty” verdict is rendered in one man’s case, but when the system as a whole has been found guilty and we, as a nation, have committed ourselves to repairing, as best we can, the immeasurable harm that has been done.
(via knowledge equals black power)
All of a sudden I felt like an alien. I felt like, holy shit, I am walking around, and all of these people, white people, are okay with my black body being beaten and kicked, even when they’re seeing the violence actually happen and don’t have to rely on hearsay. That the black body is perceived as dangerous, even when it’s on the ground, in a fetal position, with men surrounding it, kicking it. I don’t think I understood or felt as vulnerable ever before. Because I think I always sort of believed in the justice system before that, even though I knew the history. I still felt that when you’re not leaving it up to hearsay, when you have documentation, people will step up. And it didn’t happen. That was really a crisis moment for me. You just feel like, okay, you need to start paying attention. It’s the same line, from Rodney King to Michael Brown. It’s a continuum.
—Claudia Rankine (on reaction to Rodney King verdict) in “Blackness as the Second Person” Meara Sharma interviews Claudia Rankine
Poverty is not simply having no money — it is isolation, vulnerability, humiliation and mistrust. It is not being able to differentiate between employers and exploiters and abusers. It is contempt for the simplistic illusion of meritocracy — the idea that what we get is what we work for. It is knowing that your mother, with her arthritic joints and her maddening insomnia and her post-traumatic stress disordered heart, goes to work until two in the morning waiting tables for less than minimum wage, or pushes a janitor’s cart and cleans the shit-filled toilets of polished professionals. It is entering a room full of people and seeing not only individual people, but violent systems and stark divisions. It is the violence of untreated mental illness exacerbated by the fact that reality, from some vantage points, really does resemble a psychotic nightmare. It is the violence of abuse and assault which is ignored or minimized by police officers, social services, and courts of law. Poverty is conflict. And for poor kids lucky enough to have the chance to “move up,” it is the conflict between remaining oppressed or collaborating with the oppressor.