The same narrative told to blacks to behave themselves and allow justice to run its course is the same meat of white wisdom given to plantation slaves for centuries. In the 21st century, police and prosecutors lynch the lives and opportunities of people of color daily. We see the video proofs that make us scream. Yet for each scream, people of color never get justice. In fact, white wisdom tells us that our screams are racist or too focused on race.
White wisdom in the 21st is not only telling people of color to allow the justice system to operate, it is also humiliating people of color who dare to demand too much justice from the justice system. The humiliation brands critics as unreasonable, too close to aggressive blackness (for instance), too affirming of unstablished blackness, not corporately driven, not ambitious one bit.
To be upwardly mobile in society, therefore, many people of color have employed white wisdom and stayed far from what they consider to be controversial discourse. Topics surrounding race and freedoms are thrown beneath the bus of politics though these people continue to benefit immensely from controversial discourses others deploy. Many whites seem more comfortable these days talking about the theory of race (not the facts of what happens in racialized communities) than many people of color.
Race politics has long been branded as a dirty word when marginalized classes engage it. But when the rich and white engage race politics, they are rewarded with power and fame. They are considered as pioneers enacting diversity reform. (Don’t get me started on this DIVERSITY word because I don’t know what the fuck it means these days because I could say I am diverse if I can prove I have a fetish for wearing my socks until they are really nasty stink.) The rich and white—which means the mainstream media as well—want to be the only ones shaping the talk about racism in America.
So I’m not shocked that large numbers of people of color have not fully grasped that rich and white agenda. These people of color have bought into the media narrative that the majority of the Baltimore protestors are violent. I deeply worry that many people of color are not learning. Why can’t they decode the ole rules of the ole white media playbook? Why can’t they remember—that’s all: just at least try to remember—the consistent rich and white efforts designed to paralyze and rebrand activisms by people of color.
To enact these rich and white efforts, the media has always ensured that the biggest discoursed subject of the activism is not about the violence committed by the police and prosecutorial state. The biggest subject usually concerns the questions—are the protestors peaceful? Are the protestors destroying their own community? Are the protestors ignoring police orders designed to protect them?
Protestors’ activisms demand that power structures gaze upon the system of justice. But white media efforts shift the gaze to the protestors and question whether protestors are deserving of justice. The media bias also focuses only on a handful of protestors in order to brand communities of color as violent. Violence captured on videos are constantly replayed and refashioned into different presentation mediums in order that the effectiveness of harvested violence imageries can further racialize the American and global psyche.
Cartoonists get to work. Lighting designers get busy. Photoshoppers are overwhelmed. Sound artists have a role too, because the role of music and particular sounds shape imperialisms–in the same way the frequency of ambulance sirens remind us that we are living in big cities rather than rural communities, in the same way that constant police guns in communities of color teach peoples that certain lives need to be birthed and nurtured beneath militarisms.
In a nutshell, the media bias films violence, customizes and technologizes its appeal to frighten cultural sensibilities, and then brands the violence as a representation of the character of people of color. This violence branding further validates police and prosecutorial lynchings, further affirms popular white wisdom that black lives did not matter on the plantation system and should not matter in 21st century.
Thus I refuse to engage conversation for long about the subject of violent protestors in Baltimore. Not that such isn’t worthy of conversation because we can only agree that violence has often been an option that counteracts violence. We see no clearer evidence of this philosophy than glancing at America’s perpetual drone warfare upon and assassinations of Third World peoples and governments. It is that, rather than talking about the protestors violence, I would be more interested in talking about what the protestors intended to occupy the vacancy in popular rich and white discourses—that is, the subject of police and prosecutorial lynchings in Baltimore.