Why Videos Depicting Police Brutality Encourage Our Mental Immunity
Another hashtag has been born. #TerenceCrutcher is trending. It has nothing to do with the usual fodder that zap away at our brain cells with the aggression of a leech.
It has everything to do with a Black man at the prime of his life who is once again bleeding in the streets of America — because his tragic demise was orchestrated by lethal White cops who considered him armed and dangerous.
As he trends — so does the evidence of his assassination. Retweets of the video depicting the time and manner of death are popping up with fury.
How bad is it?
You won’t be disappointed if you are immune to the idea of watching a law abiding citizen fall to the ground in a hail of bullets.
But, that’s just it. Humans are built to adjust to the unfathomable. Graphic Content is no longer — graphic.
In this age of see and be seen — we’ve pretty much seen it all. Mandatory gadgets that are designed to carry us through life have been equipped with state-of-the-art settings that ensure that nothing blocks our view.
We can supersize, highlight or stylize the movie of the moment.
This works out well for occasions that are nostalgically memorable or joyful. But, when shit hits the fan — like the times when your boyfriend is bleeding to death next you because he was shot without reason — or when a man who complies with the law is killed for being Black — pixels of superior quality don’t provide any satisfaction.
They just heighten the disarray of a society that enjoys watching the game of cat and mouse that ensues between Black people — and the people who have been licensed to legally end their lives.
It’s entertainment and the stats prove that these viewing sessions are a major hit.
It’s like the movie The Running Man. The dregs of society are let loose to roam freely but there is a catch. In order to stay alive — they can’t cross paths with the ones assigned to kill them — or else — well, you can guess the rest.
The fucked up thing about the plot is that the chase between the convicts and their eager hunters is televised. The audience can actually participate in this hideous ritual.
Well, the future did promise to update our awareness and capacity to tolerate things beyond out reasoning.
And here we are.
We have evolved into the real life interpretation of a hit eighties flick that starred an over-paid muscle man who could barely utter his lines with coherency.
The videos that show Black men being gunned down with no mercy used to be a shocking illustration of the validity of police brutality against the Black community.
Now, we look at it with disturbing familiarity as if it’s a record that plays all the time except when the needle gets stuck.
We share it on multiple platforms as if this action of nonchalance will somehow reinforce something that hasn’t already been heralded — a hundred times over.
We caption and we bemoan the severity of the case as if our cries and accompaniments will for sure give cold-hearted bigots a sudden change of heart.
We think plastering videos of Black people who have been targeted for death is a noble task and a way to publicly punish their killers.
Unfortunately, it is not. Nobody who watches simulations on repeat can distinguish between what’s real or what’s fake. Or what demands more attention or less.
We are past the moment of emotional turmoil and have descended into the realm of robotic conformity.
Leaders of the movement that is supposed to propel the initiatives of their followers depend on graphic imagery to help support their latest venture.
Once they release the pics and videos — all hell breaks loose and the dance for justice commences.
Still, nothing changes.
It’s just another dead Black man littering the streets of America. The latest film in his honor doesn’t deviate from the ones that we watched for free.
The script is almost the same except for the number of White people that are cast to riddle him with bullets. That number is interchangeable.
The main character never strays from the standard offering.
Which is probably why we take it. We know what to expect because the end result sticks to the blueprint that was drafted with tragic precision.
White cops shoot to kill and the victims die clutching their wounds in disbelief as their survivors are tossed into the spotlight of agony.
And we engage in social disharmony as we battle trolls with passionate verbiage and the video that shouldn’t be circulating the web.
Enough with the sharing and retweeting and analyzing and rehashing.
It’s not helping dammit! White people don’t even care. They pretend to care or maybe some of them do but ultimately most of us — Black or White have become desensitized to the replay of the murderous mayhem — that devalues the worth of Black Americans dwelling in a country that rejects the core of our visibility.
When you gawk at the videos that are staged for our extinction — you’re sanctifying everything that keeps the streets blood red and littered.
Stop the flow. Stop the madness. Stop being inhuman. Stop pretending.
End the immunization and be infected with the virus of the visionaries before us.