Thoughts and Perspectives

Multi Edge Swords–Ritualized Violence Against Blacks

We absolutely need to keep talking about #BlackLivesMatter. We must.

We absolutely need steady, on-going attention to keep the conversation going. We must.

We absolutely need all of the videos as proof of abuse directed at Black bodies.

However, all of this is dangerous. And we must use caution and remember to also share images and stories of Blacks when they are not being abused. Almost un-discussed is the multi edge sword of ritualized violence against Blacks and the full consequences.

The sword is the initial violence against a Black body.

The sword is the announcement of the “crime.”

The sword is the announcement of the “punishment.”

The sword is the quick actions and quick responses.

The sword is the “celebrations” and justifications that follow from many hundreds and thousands of individuals.

The sword is the Law doing little or nothing.

The sword is the constant reminder to Black (and White) individuals that you are constantly in danger, constantly in skin racialized as less than human.

The sword is the images and videos of White people abusing the Black body and the damage this causes to Blacks and Whites and others.

The sword is the images and videos of the Black body being abused, suffering, and dead and the damage this causes to Whites and Blacks and others.

The sword is needing these images and yet knowing the pain they cause Blacks and allies and the feelings of superiority they give others. 

The sword is sanctioning from Governments.

The sword is the frustration of not being able to improve the situation.

This,

this,

is the same thing that happened during the Culture of Segregation. Blacks were lynched. Not every day, everywhere, but often enough—at least 3,959 from 1877-1950 and most between 1890 and 1930—that every one knew it was a reality. Blacks lived in constant fear and danger, by necessity. There were protests against lynching and calls for legislation, but that is where it ended. Governments in the United States directly and sometimes indirectly supported these murders. These murders were celebrated. They took place on Sundays after church. They were advertised. They attracted mobs of hundreds and thousands. Lynchings were celebrated with photographs that became postcards and symbols of “law and order.”

Almost the same thing happened during enslavement.  

These rituals serve to control Whites just as much as Blacks, in many ways. These rituals remind, reinforce, and perpetuate who Governments want and do not want to have a voice and power.

As I have regularly said, history repeats.

See also: What does it mean to come to terms with slavery

The one and only, Ida Bell Wells-Barnett

The one and only, Ida Bell Wells-Barnett

The one and only, Fannie Lou Hamer

The one and only, Fannie Lou Hamer

The one and only, Louis Armstrong

The one and only, Louis Armstrong

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