By Arielle Newton
Confession: I have not watched — nor do I intend to watch — the video from McKinney, Texas. From what I gathered from my various social media feeds, the video shows a cop viciously pinning down a 14-year-old bikini-clad Black girl who was attending a pool party.
Why haven’t I watched the video? Short answer: self-care.
Triggers are very, very real. And in my commitment to Black cultural empowerment against a forever-adapting system of white supremacy, I find myself triggered quite often. Especially as I approach my pro-Black activism with a consistent Black feminist lens.
This isn’t the first time I’ve actively, strategically, and directly avoided topics that cause me great pain, anxiety, sadness, and frustration. I haven’t spoken on Caitlyn Jenner and the growing white-centered dialogue about “womanhood” because nothing about her journey speaks to mine. I haven’t analyzed the Brelo verdict because that gets me angry as hell. And I haven’t put forth an opinion on Chris Brown’s mythical light skint woes because … why bother?
Actively avoiding certain topics comes with great risk, both personally and structurally.
As a blogger, consciously remaining “ignorant” drastically reduces my ability to produce content, which ultimately weakens my capacity to grow BM’s readership. For example, in regards to McKinney, I could offer an analysis that suggests part of the reason why the image of a Black girl penned down by a G.I. Joe-wannabe angered so many was because she was in a bikini, thus creating a layer rooted in the historic and current hyper-policing and -sexualization of young Black girls in some manifestation or other.
But I can’t thoroughly explore such a thought because I refuse to click on any links or play any videos in which her image is so unsympathetically smeared.
Structurally, should we remain silent about the most egregiously racist and anti-Black provocations, then our voices aren’t heard at all, and the system of white supremacy remains unchallenged or unaccountable. And we all know that’s a big ass problem.
So where do we draw the line? Short answer: I have no idea.
Deciding which images we post, what recent events galvanize us, or what videos we share is — without question — subjective. We all have our triggers, stemming from our custom-made lived experiences. We respond to events differently, are focused in specific issue areas, and are more motivated by some things over others.
So I guess I can only tailor that question to me.
I find that I’m quick to share heinous incidents of anti-Blackness, especially within the scope of police brutality. I’m quick to respond to negativity. And while it’s important that I do, I’m challenging myself to create space for positivity.
So for me, I’ll be more intentional about sharing videos and writing articles that shows the majesty of Black brilliance. I’m charging myself to lift up Black creativity and cover Black talent. That’s my commitment to the digital space.
So here’s a video of a Black community in Harlem who successfully ran off an undercover NYPD who tried to arrest a Black girl. May this video spur inspiration of what Black Girl Resilience and Resistance looks like.
Arielle Newton is the Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Black Millennials.