For black Gen-Xers like myself, who witnessed past scenes of black torture caught on camera, like the beating of motorist Rodney King by LAPD officers back in 1991, this is a moment in which the truth of black death and incarceration feels both familiar and utterly new. We are more than accustomed to managing our fury and incredulity about the insult of racial violence and its casual, chronic erasure from the public conversation. What is harder to process is seeing the faces and hearing the stories of the dead in great detail from surviving family members grappling with unspeakable pain. We who watch these daily tragedies unfold on our phones and laptops and cable news watch from afar but feel the sad heaviness of what it means to experience one’s blackness as precarious and unprotected, as eviscerated of its citizenship. To live like that is to walk through the world always slightly numb and sceptical of what lies ahead.

Daphne A Brooks on new protest songs (Guardian)


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