The Importance Of Self Preservation Amidst Casual Savagery » VSB

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The Importance Of Self Preservation Amidst Casual Savagery

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Though they rain down my social media feeds and timelines daily, I have been hiding or scrolling past videos depicting shitbag police having their way with Black and brown bodies lately. It’s not fair that I mosey on over to Facebook to squander my day with chicken recipes and clips of paternal itch-inducing dancing Black babies, only to be greeted with stories and videos and images and vines and Snapchats of newly dead Blackfolk. 

I hate that pictures of dismembered Jamals and the violated Keishas and the bloody, murdered babyboos get mixed in with the cat videos and food porn and the dancing Black baby videos. Though they can be considered historical in context, images of lynched grandfathers and mass graves and fatal wounds are a disturbingly regular part of social media now. And that is fucking terrible.

When did we become so desensitized to tragedy? Why are camera phone pictures of Black corpses filled with bullet holes their dreams, blood, and potential forming a puddle beneath them — disseminated without any consideration for the unknown viewers? What do we gain from reposting the final moments of somebody’s uncle, somebody’s wife, somebody’s babyboo?

 Awareness is one thing. Casual savagery is another.

Similarly, videos of Confederate flag enthusiasts — the sorest losers in this country’s history — fighting for their right to be morally bankrupt fucknuggets who celebrate subjugation? At this point, they are a bore. Sure, it’s fun to poke fun, but how many times do we need to see Us being terrorized and assaulted to recognize that untreated melanin envy is as dangerous as dining at Sandra Lee’s and is no laughing matter?

Staying on the pulse of every injustice and learning and chanting all the names can be emotionally draining. Sometimes, it’s all too much to keep up with, especially when living is harrowing enough by itself. At this point, the selective humanity and the state-sanctioned awful personhood should not be baffling or viewed as new or unexpected, for history, daily news and social media all tell us that this (wave upon wave of violent inhumanity) is the natural order of [their] things. Just take a look; It’s in a book. Any book.

And no amount of cleverly (and predictably) invoked Uncle Jimmy quotes or Langston lines or Mama Toni snippets will make it better. Trust me: posting that corpse won’t make it better, either.

Analyzing every instance of White terribleness is a thankless, never-ending undertaking. So, on occasion, before you do, don’t. It’s totally fine to opt out.

White fear and untreated melanin envy have been the root of countless crimes against Blackness, so until we’re able to poof-be-gone these hateful scumbaggy motherfuckers off the planet, we have to do much better at caring for Us and protecting and maintaining our sanity.

I appreciate and love that folks anticipate and respect my opinion, but sometimes, I just can’t deal and it’s too mentally taxing to be Mr. Outrage or Mr. Help Steer Whitefolk Away From The Darkside Somehow Someway Although That Terribleness Is Persistent As Fuck And Has Been Since The Beginning Of America here to make sense of their senseless fuckshit. For me, self-care amid such casual savagery means disconnecting every now and then, focusing on Life and devoting my energy, attention and love to those who love and look out for me.

I highly recommend you do the same. Sure, your voice matters. But so does your mind. Clock out from the circus when necessary.

In the rush to engage and inform, it won’t kill you take a second and consider:

Will sharing or repeating this benefit anyone?

Am I exhibiting the Oppressor’s heartlessness?

Is there a better way to address this injustice or tragedy than with the reposting of a gory visual?

What would Moms Mabley do?

Recently, during a Blackety Black roundtable by Define: BLACK, I spoke on some of the difficulties I face while interpreting and commenting on these tragedies, as well as the importance of keeping it together for you first before attempting to be a voice or source of comfort or information for anyone else:

Define: BLACK – Alex’s Reflections from Awake Storytelling on Vimeo.

Alex Hardy

Alexander Hardy is the dance captain for Saint Damita Jo Jackson's Royal Army. He is a writer who escaped Hampton, Virginia and is now based in Panama City, Panama. There, he runs The Colored Boy, and consumes copious amounts of chicken. He has written for EBONY.com, CNN, Gawker, and Huffington Post among other outlets. Alexander can likely be found daydreaming about his next meal or Blacking It Up on someone's dance floor. He also doesn't believe in snow or Delaware. Read more from Alex at www.thecoloredboy.com

  • Way off topic, but do you have any relation to a girl named Porsha’ (she has a younger brother named WIlliam) and they share your last name and look EXACTLY like you!

  • MsSula

    Your posts always make me smile (you know that deep smile of satisfaction after reading a great literary piece).

    Excellent and necessary write up.

    P.S: “dangerous as dining at Sandra Lee’s”
    I knew I wasn’t alone in thinking that bish could NOT cook!!! Talkin’ bout Semi-Homemade. Bish, please. Loll.

  • Brooklyn_Bruin

    On the run up to the Million Man March this weekend, Louis said of Dentist Lion Killer

    “He killed that lion, and now he’s in hiding. He’s in fear of his life. Meanwhile, Zimmerman walks around without a care in the world.”

    The subheading of the march was “Justice OR ELSE”. So I’m expecting some of that 88 era Farrakhan. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a head for a head, a life for a life. That’s a good religion… that’s that old time religion, the one that Ma and Pa used to talk about.

    Well, Louis
    – Halfheartedly reached out to the LGBTQi community on some, “we don’t judge, let he without sin cast the 1st stone” rationale. Which is kind of the wrong thing to say. (and not kind of)

    – How Muslim women can cook, clean, and sew. And are more appealing to children than some of you tarted up and dressed down hussies.

    – An interesting and very personal take on keeping the baby and not getting an abortion

    But I’m waiting for some of that “let’s set up some Gun Clubs in the Ghetto” type speech. Let’s exercise our rights and lefts, 2nd amendment.

    And it just wasn’t there.

    Whole thing shoulda been called “Justice or Nah?”

    • The downfall of a lot of religious movements, at least in the modern era, is that it’s hard for a new idea to emerge. Religions are inherently tied to tradition. Also, if I hear Farrakhan quoting Malcolm I’m going to puke.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        He made a few references, the bamboozled one was the most evident.

        As for religion, the jihadists seem to make it work for them. Never met anyone that’s down for the cause to that extent.

    • Val

      “But I’m waiting for some of that “let’s set up some Gun Clubs in the
      Ghetto” type speech. Let’s exercise our rights and lefts, 2nd
      amendment.”

      I truly believe that if anything like this happens the powers that be will stop whatever they’re doing and not only pay attention to our plight but will actually start searching for solutions.

    • “But I’m waiting for some of that “let’s set up some Gun Clubs in the Ghetto” type speech. Let’s exercise our rights and lefts, 2nd amendment.”

      When the Panthers did that in Sacramento, we saw how fast Reagan and nem moved to enact strict gun laws.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        I have no problems putting the NRA back into some knots

  • I thought I was alone in this feeling. I see a horrible thing…right after giggling at a silly kitten, and it’s jarring. I really don’t want to have to think about it from moment to moment. It IS very draining. Especially as, I’m not really sure what to do about any of this. On top of feeling powerless, there is a relentless assault on my compassion and humanity towards others. I’m upset by these images…and what to do? You’re right, sometimes you need to step away from it.

  • NomadaNare

    There’s been a trend of these sorts of pieces. Part of me gets it and part of me doesn’t. I’m not judging but I always wonder how I would want people to feel about my life rendered to memory and forever associated with the thing I always fought against. Personally, whenever a new case comes up I always feel like the least I can do is honor those that have sacrificed their bodies, names, and anonymity by watching the recordings of their wrongful deaths. However, once I watch it, I let it go and pour the anger into whatever I’m doing. Every new case drives me to be better. I understand not everyone can do that, though.

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      Same here. Most of us feel insignificant. Ask ourselves “if I died, who would care?” I don’t know for myself honestly, so I take it as a sign of respect to view these clips, read these articles, and listen to these discussions whenever these events happen.

      I also get we aren’t all built the same. If some of us get sad and heavy over hearing a news article, we clearly don’t have what it takes to be the police officers, coroners, & journalists who actually work with these conditions.

      • PhlyyPhree

        I understand what you’re saying.
        For me, I WANT to knw the names. I want to know the situations and the stories, but I also know that sometimes I CAN’T know it all.
        What makes me feel insignificant is the fact that I can’t possibly know it all because it NEVER stops

        • NomadaNare

          It doesn’t stop because someone hasn’t yet figured out how to convince people to stop. I’m willing to bet there’s a lot we as individuals can do to inhibit and eventually eradicate all acute forms of violence but it takes people that are willing to try. Is it worth it to fight for something we know is right even if the outcome may not be changed? I think that’s a decision each of us makes on our own. I refuse to be broken while I still breathe.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          Before, I would have criticized for copping out. Nowadays, I am aware that not only isn’t fair, but I’d abandon my own philosophy that everybody is different.

          I get what you’re saying. Only thing I can say in response is yes it will always feel like it never stops but that doesn’t mean your interest in it doesn’t actually affect it. It does. Because even if you can’t do anything personally, your attention sparks the attention of someone close to you, and it can be a domino effect for others until it does hit someone that really could do something about it.

        • LMNOP

          An English newspaper is keeping track of all people killed by police officers in the US this year. It’s called “the Counted” and it’s interesting and really, really depressing. There are just so many people…

          Just looking through it I was also struck by how many people who seemed to have serious mental illnesses seem to be fatally shot after “agitatedly threatening” people with non lethal objects. It made me really sad especially realizing a lot of those people probably don’t have many people in their corner, telling us their stories and fighting for justice.

      • I see a silver lining in this though:

        On an international level, the idea that the American police deserve the “benefit of the doubt” or that citizens lack the expertise or judgment to rationally determine what “reasonable force” is, -which I think is the source of their power – is slowing dissolving. That’s a huge deal, because this whole mentality has been intellectually justified by the drug war, and as that justification has been mostly discredited, the policies that were shaped by it are destined to be discredited as well.

        I do think the transition will be a rough one (bad govt policies are always parasitical and blood is always shed to get rid of them, which could either be literal or metaphorical), and as pressure does burst pipes, I think we’re going to see actually far worse actions from cops end up on video that make Walter Scott look basic; however, as a great fictional character once said – and I believe this to be true – “The night is darkest just before the dawn.” I do believe things are on the way to getting better, and it’s the increasing irrationality and whining from the other side that lets me know that they can feel the zeitgeist is against them, and they are panicking.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          The panic is real. The only issue is when an organism in this world feels in jeopardy, their unpredictable nature comes into play to employ self-preservation. I’m worried that our anger as the minority still separates our ability to work together. We have a short-team ideal for a long term problem, and if we don’t figure out how to use this pressure we created to our advantage PROPERLY, we will just lose the fight the same way the fight was always lost.

  • LMNOP

    The killing of a 12 year old playing with a toy gun at a playground being found “reasonable” is just, I don’t even have words. It was “reasonable” to KILL someone’s baby at the park?!?!

  • fxd8424
  • fxd8424

    Never apologize for your choices.

  • Jaris Cole

    “For me, self-care amid such casual savagery means disconnecting every now and then, focusing on Life and devoting my energy, attention and love to those who love and look out for me.”
    This entire article is a must-read!

  • Stephanie Smith

    Are you in or around the Chicago area? I’m looking for speakers for my company’s Black History program this February.

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