On Friday, August 5, the Chicago Police Department held “watch parties” of the murder of Paul O’Neal at CPD headquarters. Some Chicago organizers were invited to watch the death of their brother. They were invited to just have a chance to get more information for the base of their response. This is not the first time we have seen this. But look at the Laquan McDonald case, where the nation was replaying the footage of his murder on news stations and on social media. The consumption of blk death is not new; it goes all the way back to when the first slave boat was brought to Afrika.
The real fact is that the consumption of blk death is disgusting and shows us how the media continue to agree with the oppression of blk bodies being disposable. Not only has corporate media been in support of the consumption of blk death, but social media has been used as another tool to consume blk death. From the share button on Facebook to the retweet button on Twitter, it is really easy to share videos of blk people dying. Blk folk have had enough trauma already. From deeming blk children as older than they are (criminalization 101), to deeming all blk people as “savages” not worthy of thinking or having feelings for ourselves.
Sharing videos of blk death is not creating social change. It does not spread the word. It reminds blk folk like myself that the world is anti-blk. It reminds us that society deems our bodies as disposable, and at any moment, that any one of us can be gone.
When you share blk death, you are building up the tolerance of society to see more blk bodies being taken out like dirty trash. I believe that we should not being sharing videos of our siblings being killed because of the systematic oppression and trauma that comes along side that.
When we talk about the consumption of blk death and police violence, we also have to check ourselves. We should not be only upset that Laquan McDonald got shot 16 times. We shouldn’t be caught up in that. One shot is enough to be upset. One stop-and-frisk is enough to be angry. If we do get caught up in that “they didn’t have to shoot him 16 times” narrative, then the solution becomes more training for the police and more policing, which will never get the root cause of police violence. The solution is that the police are violent and they need to be abolished and replaced with radical community safety that does not involve policing or prisons
To Blk people, sharing videos of your siblings being killed is contributing to the trauma of our communities and people. We have to be gentle with ourselves. This is the modern-day picnic (pick-a-nigger) where blk bodies would be taken and lynched as racist white people smiled and made joy out of it. This is the same thing when the Masta’s (Master’s) children would watch as blk enslaved people get tied up and whipped. This is nothing new.
We know that our bodies are not disposable, so we have to take that with us as we continue to organize for social and global change. So in our circles and spaces, we need to make sure we meet people where they are in terms of political education. We must talk through what accountability looks like in our communities, and make sure that the victim(s) is centered in our talks about accountability.
The police do not keep us safe. Prisons do not keep us safe. We have to re-imagine this world where we are as racially inclusive. Where we make sure no one or their body is disposable. Where we have radical safety and where violence in our communities because of systemic oppression would not be answered with more violence by the state. It should not be acceptable that 38 percent of city budget goes to the police, while education is listed under “Other Departments” and our schools are closing.
It is not acceptable for the Chicago Police Department to have a black site for over 20 years in which they kidnapped and tortured more than 70,000 people. There is no such thing as “good policing” when the “bad police” aren’t being held accountable to the people. There is no thing as “good policing” when it grow out of slave patrolling. There is nothing called good policing when police and prisons are making money and allowing corporations to make money off the backs of mostly blk and other people of color.