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annikastheory wrote

This paragraph is great

We’ve seen antebellum images of enslaved black people whose backs were marred by whip marks, we’ve seen Bill Hudson’s photographs of black protesters being attacked by high-powered fire hoses and police dogs at the command of Bull Connor. We’ve seen pictures of the rubble of the 16th Street Baptist Church after it was bombed by the Klan in 1963 and the smoldering remnants of the MOVE commune after it was bombed by a Philadelphia police helicopter in 1985. We saw the recordings of Rodney King being tasered and assaulted by four Los Angeles police officers in 1991 (as well as the riots that followed their acquittals), Oscar Grant being pinned down and shot in the back on a train platform in 2009, and Eric Garner being choked to death on a Staten Island sidewalk in 2014. If the argument is that witnessing this violence is enough or is necessary to galvanize action, my single question is when? When will these acts become too unacceptable to simply continue to watch? In how many more decades, and after how many more dead?

Interesting comparison of video sharing and watching a lynching.

Whiteness transmutes atrocity images into ephemera, into a thing to be collected, more quickly than we would like to imagine. Arguably, the almost industrial production of these lynching videos—circulated in loops on cable news, shared widely across social media—de-exceptionalizes the event. The pattern of learning a new hashtagged name and face and collectively petitioning for some semblance of punitive justice is heartbreakingly banal and psychologically depleting. (And what of the many we never come to know?) It does not sufficiently push a critical mass of people toward a crisis of racial consciousness, and it instead feeds into a piercingly mundane echolalia that flows seamlessly into the tapestry of American inequality.