The savage spectacle of Mario Woods’ murder
Many of us were recently jolted yet again by a brutally savage video showing up on social media and going viral. The torrent of images is both painful yet sobering. Like being woken up in the morning with a cold bucket of water on your face - shock to the system, but a welcome one because our proverbial house is on fire and we are under ontological siege. We witness – through cellphone video – the public execution without trial of a Black 26 year old San Francisco Bayview Hunter’s Point community member named Mario Woods. Mario Woods’ name is added to the list of savage and absurd acts of violence perpetrated on Black bodies in recent memory. We should examine for a moment the deeper meaning of this type of public spectacle. The white status quo normalizes this type of public savagery inflicted on Black humanity through social media commentary that seeks to rationalize these savage public exhibits of depraved violence with absurd explanations of why police acted they way that they did. These mad and maddening explanations play hand in hand with the police department’s control of narratives that attempt to make us disbelieve our own eyes. We are supposed to believe that a single man hobbling down the street holding a knife with a 4 inch blade on it is a threat to 10 cops surrounding him with lethal weapons aimed at him. The arrogance of white hegemony is that it believes that it is the final authority on reality and authenticated histories – and, it subconsciously deploys these insane rationalizations as a way of validating its violence at every turn. Its violence is not limited to just the black body but also attacks the integrity of black character and our very right to existence.
Like clockwork the routine character assassination, criminalization and vilification of the victim started in less than 48 hours. ABC channel 7 news reported that SFPD says that video evidence shows that Woods made “…a threatening move” and SF Weekly quickly deployed a headline reading “Marion Woods: Gang member slain by SFPD”. All the while these corporate news entities maintain a wall of silence in regards to – not just the background of the officers involved – but doesn’t even release their names. Corporate press and entertainment television is basically the propaganda wing of domestic policing. The late great Gil Scott Heron in his song released in 1981 titled “Gun” stated,
“This is a violent civilization
If civilization's where I am
Every channel that I stop on
Got a different kind of cop on
Killing them by the million for Uncle Sam”
The romanticization of contemporary policing and its attendant corruption, nepotisim, racism and amoral behavior continues well into the 21st century aided and abetted by corporate entertainment and press. Network TV, Hollywood movies Mario Woods’ public execution without trial shows in the microcosm what white
hegemony does in the macrocosm on a global scale with impunity and readymade narratives deployed to convince us not to trust our own eyes.