The Unrelenting Anti-Blackness of 2020
As the coronavirus and police brutality endanger Black bodies and minds, where do we find solace?
As if to resist the way Black skin drinks and dazzles in the sunlight, those invested in White supremacy have long redefined the hot months as a killing season. The Red Summer. The Tulsa massacre. And in 2020, despite the monotony of these endless ’rona days, that cycle seems be grinding into sickening motion once again. As shelter-in-place orders are lifted and folks trickle out into the world again, police and some unofficially deputized White citizens have been invigorated to get their summertime fun poppin’ early.
Bounties of ink will be spilled in the coming weeks about the lives of regular Black people doing regular things and somehow turning up dead. Poems and tomes will be conjured in the names of Black runners and bird watchers who are harassed (sometimes to death) simply for being outdoors; of lovers being riddled with bullets while in bed; of Black park-goers arrested and brutalized in the name of social distancing enforcement.
Just watch as 911 enthusiast Amy Cooper becomes a second-wave White feminist avatar who gets name-dropped in Lana Del Rey’s next attention-thirsty letter to the culture. Sure, the former is out of a job, a dog, and possible access to Central Park, while the latter got ethered by the same Black girl hives she stirred up for album promo. But watching a White woman play herself or a celebrity get dragged online just doesn’t hit the same these days. Not when you’re saturated by the deluge of racist bullshit flooding news and social media channels and distanced from your loved ones due to a deadly pandemic.
But now, Black people are being forced to swallow the twin sorrows of a deadly pandemic and our own murders being made public spectacle.
Quite frankly, we’re exhausted. I’m exhausted.
Covid-19 ravages on, but we can’t even console at-risk loved ones via video calls without being reminded that we can be murdered at…