Ultraviolence

30 Apr

An unemployed Baltimore mother whoops her son for attempting to join a riot, and conservatives think she’s great while liberals cringe at the show of force. The riots themselves caused a groundswell of support from liberals, while conservatives decry the destruction of property.

In both cases, acts of violence don’t really belong to the perpetrators of the violence, but are held by the community standards  of thinkpiece writers and Fox News reporters. Brown/Black violence isn’t complicated in the popular imagination, it’s not even necessarily real (notice that no one offers a trigger warning for this sort of violence). Dark skin violence is either a metaphor or innately cultural or a reflex; a bit like the doctor hitting your knee with a tiny rubber hammer.

Whenever riots erupt, especially race riots, the event serves as a blank slate for intellectuals of all types and races to fill in.  If riots are the language of the unheard, then we’re a nation of translators chomping at the bit to be the first to draft a clear statement of fact from a foreign speaker.

In Defense of A Riot, or Shame On A Riot, they’re both sides of the same coin, reducing a complex local community into bodies of instinct, action and reaction, and isn’t reduction the original sin of American bigotry?

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