I am here to talk about silence.
And the violence of it. How it traumatizes the body that practices it as well as the bodies it is imposed upon.
I want to talk about how it (silence, I mean)—and I made up this word—invisibilizes. And how that act—to render someone, a body, invisible is violence.
I want to talk about the violences we do not recognize as violence or don’t recognize at all. I want to talk about what we would want to call collateral damage done in these [non]acts. How passivity and implicitness and negative space need to be interrogated for their tangible effects; the scar tissue after the abuse is over if you will. I want to talk about all of that in the ongoing conversation about, and in recent moment of, black rage.
I want to talk about the narrative of black rage; the narrative that it is born of the explicitly physical abuse of the black body—the onslaught of webcam videos and autopsy reports of these abuses—as though these are the only abuses. (They’re not).
I’m interested in the fact that the documented responses—award shows presentations and CVS burnings suggest or worse, pretend, that rage looks a specific way and is specifically responding to abuse that is defined as a singular identifiable act or series of acts.
I don’t believe that what is visited upon black bodies is a singularly explicitly physical act and the response to such violences is not necessarily riotous frustration enacted in loud, chaotic outbursts.
I’d propose that what is visited upon black bodies is the physic denial of its existence; consistently rendering it invisible and unworthy of consideration.
This is its own violence.
I’d contend that we are silent about the other abuses—willfully or no—and that our silence is dangerous because without acknowledgement or channeling it can become “rage.”
The “rage” that follows is the involuntary corporeal performance of the African American victim’s body. (And definitely more than corporeal, but let’s just stay here with it).
These corporeal performances range from disease to the stance one assumes in public spaces.
I’d like to talk about all of that.
Maybe, eventually, I will. Maybe I already do if lived experience, and I contend it is, is its own record.