I’ve been desensitized to the frequency and magnitude of antiblack violence for a long time now–and this country has too. One thing we can always take for granted is that death and gratuitous violence can visit Black people at any moment. Wealth and class mean some are more/less vulnerable than others, but no Black person has ever been immune.
Antiblackness has been constant throughout this country’s history because the US was settled and founded upon the notion that Black beings are “socially dead” (something other than people, something less than human). The economic and social relations of the modern world would not be possible without the systems and profits created from the dehumanization and enslavement of Black people.
It is through contrasting itself to the Black non/subhuman that the rest of the modern world gets to define and become “human.” Non-Black ethnic groups in the US can say “well at least we’re not Black” while the Black folks that are still among the living can only say “well at least we’re not dead.”
It’s much easier to kill someone who is already dead in the eyes of society, but a society that treats Black bodies this way is dead itself. It is only through the liberation of Black people–the creation of a material world where Blackness is safe–that anyone will be safe. Every community and every group working for “justice” in the US must center and confront antiblackness if any of us are to get free. Until then, Black people can only rely–and must rely–on ourselves for our survival.
These thoughts come from too many sources to name: Frank Wilderson, Jared Sexton, Alondra Nelson, Jakeya Caruthers’s courses Queering Afrofuturism and Black Feminist Theory, and many many more.