I have been unable to watch the video of Eric Garner’s death for three reasons:
First, I am exceedingly sensitive to such graphic images and when possible, I actually avoid television and any video based news for the internal downward emotional spiral it creates in me. I read almost everything I learn about the world…or I talk to people….or I’m there in person.
Secod, the end of life, no matter how brutal, is sacred. It does not deserve to “go viral” without honoring the very real passing of life. We should not be able to look at an image like the one of Eric Garner or the image above of a man being lynched without first praying or in some way honoring that a real live person was publicly killed. They both have names, and families, yet too quickly, we make them into historical and sensational “media.”
Third, and most importantly, it conjures up an image that I can’t help but see in a historical context. It is an image that will live alongside images of white police beating black men in the 1960’s; It is an image that will live alongside the countless images of black bodies hanging from trees; It is an image that will live along side the picture of timid ignorant slaves being emancipated by the beneficent godlike white man; it is an image that brings to mind the careless and vicious rape of countless black and brown women for white men’s entertainment; it is an image that shows me what it must have looked like when white men captured slaves in Africa; it is an image that shows me exactly what the lives of blacks and all people of color in America has been under white domination:
A conflict with an unjustified beginning.
A battle that is public yet no one will defend.
An image that confounds reality and conscience.
A struggle where death is too often the end.
A voice with no sound.
Rest in Peace Eric Garner and God help us all.