Why I’m Not Watching Any More Videos of Black Death
Who needs any more pain?
Note: I wrote this before the white supremacist killing of Black people in Buffalo, but I could have written it at any time in the last few years. More Black people dead, another white killer being arrested safely, when a Black person in the same situation would already be dead. Still more evidence that Black lives don’t matter to many. More heartbreak, more trauma. When will it end?
The other day I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I saw someone saying: “Oh my word, not another one.” I scrolled a little bit further, and I soon found the name of another young Black man who had been shot by the police. I did a little bit of googling, learned a little bit more about the incident and had a brief moment of mourning.
You know what I did NOT do?
I didn’t go and watch the video. And I may never watch another of those videos again. Here's why I feel that way.
There’s Nothing New to Learn
First of all, watching the video is not going to tell me anything new. I have already seen too many of them, even though I never seek them out. I can never unsee the video of George Floyd being brutalized, or the video of Rodney King or any of the videos I've seen over the decades. And I have a healthy imagination. I honestly never need to see another one to understand what it feels like to see untrammeled violence being visited on the bodies of Black men and women.
No More Trauma
The second reason is that it's traumatic. Every time you see another of those incidents, it adds to the decades of trauma and the generations of trauma that people who look like me have experienced. And it brings up my own personal experiences of racism, which were painful enough the first time round.
While I'm on the subject please don't make it part of your allyship journey to send me videos of these incidents, just so I know you’re aware of what’s happening. I already know. Aside from videos of Black people being killed, I don't need to see videos of Black people are being treated badly, of Black people being called the N word. I don’t need video evidence of any of those things. I have lived most of those myself. I have friends and family who have done the same. We have talked about it.
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So, if you find those videos fascinating, go ahead and watch them and keep them to yourself. But don't send them to me. If you want to bring something to my attention, it is enough to ask if I saw the news about whatever the name or incident is. I know how to use Google. I will find the details in a form that I can easily consume while avoiding the graphic videos, such as a news story with still images, or no images at all.
Protecting My Peace
There’s so much going on that I don't see every news story of brutality against Black people out there. The scale of it is awful, but I’m glad I don’t see it all because I think the tide of negativity would overwhelm me. As Black people, it is important to protect our peace and well being. In choosing not to watch any more of those videos, that's exactly what I'm doing. I already know and feel the brutality viscerally. I don’t need it seared into my eyeballs. There's only so much pain a person can cope with.
Global majority people, what's your take on this? Are you still watching the videos of Black people dying? Or are you also protecting your peace?
As always, this is my personal opinion. Others may disagree, because we are not a monolith. Thank you for reading.
P.S. Here’s a small selection of the incidents that I’ve already written about in this newsletter:
No, U.S. Cops, You DON'T Have a License to Kill (Daunte Wright)
Sleeping While Black Can Get You Killed (Breonna Taylor and Antwan Gilmore)
Guilty, Guilty, Guilty (Ahmaud Arbery)
Image credit: Getty images: Larry Washburn
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2022. All Rights Reserved.