52 SONGS

...the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Claudia Rankine

"I know when Rodney King’s jury came back and said that despite the video, the police had done nothing wrong, that was a moment for me. I literally burst into tears. I had this weird feeling walking around the streets of New York, that I didn’t know who these people were. All of a sudden I felt like an alien. I felt like, holy shit, I am walking around, and all of these people, white people, are okay with my black body being beaten and kicked, even when they’re seeing the violence actually happen and don’t have to rely on hearsay. That the black body is perceived as dangerous, even when it’s on the ground, in a fetal position, with men surrounding it, kicking it. I don’t think I understood or felt as vulnerable ever before. Because I think I always sort of believed in the justice system before that, even though I knew the history. I still felt that when you’re not leaving it up to hearsay, when you have documentation, people will step up. And it didn’t happen. That was really a crisis moment for me. You just feel like, okay, you need to start paying attention. It’s the same line, from Rodney King to Michael Brown. It’s a continuum."

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