Treating Black People As A Consumable Good ≠ Valuing Black Life
Black and other people who protest the extrajudicial execution of Michael Brown and protest anti-Blackness and State violence themselves brought that protest to the recent St. Louis Rams versus San Francisco 49ers game. Of course they were met with everything from indifference/annoyance to outright acts of hatred because of it. I was so proud to see them upset that space though.
There, White people, many of whom are clearly racist (I mean…just watch some of the after the game videos posted all over Instagram) consuming Black bodies (and let’s be clear, how the NFL operates has a lot to deconstruct in terms of the use of primarily Black bodies; see Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete; and discussion of Black athletes in this context is not absolution of intraracial gendered abuse/crime) as a product, a good, an entertainment, but then during the game and after the game were confronted with the reality of State-sponsored Black death and what that means for Black people in America because of the nature of anti-Blackness. And some could not deal.
It doesn’t take every White person at that game to respond as some did for racism to be real. Again, structural violence on Black people in multiple forms exist not only to the benefit of Whiteness but in part helps define Whiteness itself. Where “Black” is treated as diametrical, as the ultimate inferior. (And for the willfully obtuse thirsty for a derail, when you juxtapose intraracial crime with State violence, you’re suggesting that the type of crime that every race experiences between “citizens” becomes a reason to justify State violence on Black people, specifically. When you suggest a Black victim was “no angel” you suggest State violence is acceptable on Black people by standards only Whites can determine. Anti-Blackness.)
This thought about Whites’ response to the resistance during the game just reminds me about how I wrote about White consumption of Black culture or womanist/Black feminist scholarship is not proof of compassion or anti-racism praxis. And because of how White supremacy is socialized, there are fellow Black people who process White consumption as an “elevation” or validation of Black cultural production and think that’s something to be “flattered” by. It isn’t. Furthermore, Whites appropriating Black culture is not proof of valuing Black life. At all.
Black life is treated as non-human life and a “debatable topic.” What is a Black body but a buffet or a store or a meal or an object if the value of the experience of consuming it matters more than the intrinsic value of Black people..where only in the context of White pleasure does a Black person matter?