To my non-melanated friends, why is sharing videos of our deaths so easy for you? Year after year videos are leaked showing the moment black people had their last breaths stolen from them and it sparks outrage and concern from non-black folks and it is shared over and over again on stories, and pages, and in tweets. And I ask you why? Why do we feel so comfortable sharing these images? We need yall to believe us when we are still alive. To listen to us when we can still draw breath. Why must my message only be shared when I am no longer living?
Racial terror lynchings as they were known in the 1900s were public events drawing in crowds of hundreds even thousands of white spectators. People held picnics by my ancestors' dead bodies with their children and loved ones. They would pose for photos with mutilated black corpses in the background. These photos were often taken as keepsakes and people would share them with family who couldn't attend, creating postcards to commemorate the event.
Here we are over 100 years later and we are participating in a sick sort of voyeurism, posting videos and photos of dead and dying black people in the name of activism and awareness.
The inhumanity of whiteness (see Layla F Saad) is what leads to folks like William Bryan recording the murder of Ahmaud Arbery on camera without an attempt to intervene. The inhumanity of whiteness is the killer's daughter and sister sharing photos of Ahmauds dead body on her Snapchat. The inhumanity of whiteness is the inability to even imagine your non-black self on the ground with a knee in your neck. It's the inability to imagine your loved one on the ground begging for air. Your adherence to whiteness shields you from true empathy from even thinking twice about sharing a video of someone's death.
Like Layla F Sadd I too am here only to show the inhumanity of whiteness. Because I will no longer spend my time proving to people that black folks deserve life and justice. Sharing of black trauma so thoughtlessly is a pillar of whiteness and white supremacy. Whiteness thrives on the deaths of black folks. I for one will no longer stand for sharing videos or photos of us dying helplessly in the streets like my ancestors died helpless in trees. No more trauma porn for the white gaze.
With a very heavy and tired heart,