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7.7.16

MuriKKKan Spectatorship

"This society is designed to keep us down and it will only be a matter of time before we get Fanonian because ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I am not a proponent of violence but I am a proponent of black resistance. The anger I felt in my bones upon learning another black man died simply because he was black, and the white imagination is skewed, was so fervent that I shook. The fact is we are living in a white supremacist, neocolonial, society. Your degree, your tax bracket, your occupation...nothing matters if you are black.

Black resistance comes in many forms. We can start by not partaking in watching the deaths of our people. I know this may be polarizing but this is my opinion. Please emancipate yourselves from such voyeurism. You are not, I repeat, you are NOT enacting change or doing any good circulating these videos. You are feeding into the mainstream media's parading of our suffering. Dying black bodies are NOT spectacles. This is akin to crowds watching, grinning + justifying our black bodies swinging from trees. We are still strange fruit. Circulating these videos is also further increasing + deepening the collective PTSD in our community! Especially among young black boys and girls who are on the internet all the time, who will see this and fear they, their fathers + mothers are next. RESIST. RESIST. RESIST. The video serves an important purpose, yes, but the more you circulate, and repost, the more desensitizing this becomes. Black death loses its gravitas. We have become desensitized to something that should SHAKE US to our core, and move us to act. The media is a tool to convince us we are disposable and we cannot allow it to be successful in ingraining this lie into our psyche.
Last thing I will say, and I don't care if I lose followers, or whatever: If you are white and you do not understand + recognize your privilege, it is you who carries a burden not us. #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile #BlackLivesMatter
"

- Amy Sall (2016)

I couldn't possibly have written anything so in tune with how I feel about the social media frenzy that immediately followed the late Alton Sterling and Philando Castile's untimely, unjust deaths as eloquently as Sunu Journal founder Amy Sall has.


This is so relevant to the African Americans now threatening to leave the US of A for "Africa." Ignoring the fact that certain individuals (not generalising here at all) have developed an arrogance that has led them to consciously or unconsciously assume they are entitled to the same claim on our indigenous cultures and land as we are, much the same way Caucasians in their post-colonial society routinely "cash-crop" their own, how exactly does this grand exit contribute to the cause? (Besides maybe helping the accused above realise their reckless "borrowing" from or allusion to any and all things African without credit, involvement, educational and/or celebratory motives etc is borderline privilege as well - yes, it does unfortunately play a big role in heightening the collective sense of nationalism on the continent, but this is not to be mistaken with the second coming of Jesus like that first-world superiority complex might have some believe).

If there's anything to learn from the effects of Black Zionism to Liberia in the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century, it's that leaving is in the oppressors' best interests. Whether at the hands of a racist white person or of their own volition, black Americans are literally being wiped off the face of the land their forefathers ploughed, tilled, sweated on, marched on, bled on one by one without justice being served. As sad and increasingly dangerous as it is, they are better off there on the front line fighting back on their home turf with politics, upturning a system that was designed when their lives were undervalued and consistently protects this mistreatment to this very day.

The surrendering tones of this Back-to-Africa sentiment, this gradual acceptance of defeat in search of a better (easier?) life is damaging.

What should be a call to arms makes for little more than media fodder and hashtags these days. The media's focus is now less on the deaths themselves and more on the reactions, the aftermath, essentially reducing the deaths of POC to videos you watch between comedy sketches ripped from Vine and life-hack tutorials, liking them (!!!) before eventually scrolling past, telling helpless young black people they can do nothing but stand by and watch helplessly as their fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers die again and again and again a million times over in front of hundreds of thousands of people across the world, just like many others have done on our screens in films, TV shows, video games, the days of slavery... This desensitisation - coping mechanism or entirely unintentional - is furiously working against the cause. These videos should be evidence, not cause for spectatorship in the deaths of your people be you black or a non-racially biased person of any skin colour or culture because no matter how much song and dance is made to the contrary, we are all equal and we will not let that be forgotten.

Stay safe out there, kids.
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