I’ve been really struggling with how to respond to the violence we’ve witnessed so far this year. I think what’s been most difficult is navigating what’s become “the discourse” on mainstream and social media. Watching people attempt to give meaning to a violence that is logically illogical. How do you making meaning of an absurdity?1 So vast that it almost feels as if you’re going to break your brain trying to grasp the extent of it. Watching people in the U.S. attempt to turn this violence into reasons to vote, as if history hasn’t already shown us the limits of voting, the limits of participation in “the system”, in Politics itself.
The more violence I witness, the more my rage and grief affirms my desire to completely withdraw my participation in a Politics that is built on and sustained by the deaths of Black people around the globe. I’m not interested in inclusivity or representation or any form of a seat at the table. The idea of the struggle does not excite me. It is not joyous. I do not find “inspiration” in little kids marching to prove to people who don’t give a shit that their lives matter.
I’m more interested in participating in building autonomous support systems with other people who also want to withdraw their desire to be “seen” by or represented within the State in any of its forms. I want to connect with more people who aren’t interested in salvaging an anti-Black world. I get why this might be a difficult journey for people – it can be depressing or feel hopeless to fully recognise and acknowledge the depths of the violence. I mean, it is fucking depressing. But I find that sitting in that reality opens up my imagination more because I’m not confined to trying to operate within the confines of a system that hates me – of repeating the same cycles over and over as proof of some potential “progress”. Instead, I find it energising to realise that I don’t have to fall in line. That nothing I do will give me full inclusion so therefore I can refuse participation. I find it the most liberating.
- In Black Nihilism and the Politics of Hope (2015), Calvin L. Warren writes, “Meaning itself is an aspect of anti-blackness, such that meaning is lost for the black; blacks live in a world of absurdity, and this existential absurdity is meaning for the world” (226).↩︎