But first coffee…
The freedom that some are afforded to be able to wilfully switch on and off from a cause that they feel doesn’t impact them or advance them in anyway is the disconcerting, pixelated and fuzzy image of my life. A life that exists in real time, what do we have left once all the insightful books are closed and the extensive reading lists have been checked off, once all the news reports cease or when the graphic videos filmed in 3D are no longer shown and someone finally stops recording. Here’s what I have left, reels of uncomfortable images of memories past and present that roll ceaselessly in my mind even when the cameras do not. Although I log out of social media from the carefully curated online selves, the unflawed identities that show that we are all united under the banner of social justice, I cannot log out from my black identity.
I’m made to gaze upon images of people that look like me every other day being slain. A death in high definition I call it. The images I see show how fleeting our lives are, and yet how fickle it is to be black to the scrutinising eyes that watch and watch and watch. Then. We wait for the credits, we wait to give acknowledgment to the guests that starred in these movies but simultaneously perturbed when we realise that these credits are far too long – this is because our screens overflow with the names of people that have been killed in the past few days, month, and years. Videos to me are a torturous reminder that the death of a black person can not only be normalised but so easily served up on the fast food chain of social media, hot and ready to collect on the glorified platter that is our news feeds. The feed that feeds our disturbing appetites to satisfy and nourish our disbelief that racism could still exist. I on the other hand am left with an emptiness and the unrelenting growls from the hunger for change that has been starved for so many years.
And when the verdict is called and we wait with baited breath in the hope that this time won’t be like the others. We return from our daydream and are pulled by the weight of reality to hear that no justice has come of it. That my friends is the crippling realisation that I’m made to swallow before I crack a smile and start my day.
Photo Credit: Ali Ghassan Osman
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