It was around the beginning of the semester when the Chicago kidnapping and torture by four young black adults of a disabled white young man began making the news circuit. I hunted down the original video footage, and watched it beginning to end. It was demented, watching the kidnappers laughing and joking as they tortured this young man, saying things such as “fuck white people” as they did so.
The thing about it that was most disturbing was that they didn’t even think they were doing anything wrong. They were gleefully live-streaming this kidnapping and torture on social media, and they thought that everyone who saw the footage would stand behind them because the man they were torturing was white. This act of racism and hatred was symptomatic of the violence of social justice culture.
To me, this act bore a direct connection to ideologies espoused by groups such as the Black Liberation Collective, whose statement of principles professes:
We understand that continuing to remain peaceful and encouraging others to remain peaceful at the hands of white supremacist oppressive violence is illogical and immoral. We support those who believe that nonviolence is a tactic, but we are aware that this is not the only way to dismantle the system that has humiliated, physically and literally enslaved, unjustly murdered, and continues to devalue black people in America. We will strive for liberation by any means necessary, including but not limited to: armed self-defense.
We condone whatever methods Black people adopt to liberate themselves and their kin.
This statement echoes the words of Malcolm X,
We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.
Malcolm X himself was echoing the words of another activist, Jean-Paul Sartre, who said that “it is not by refusing to lie that we will abolish lies: it is by eradicating class by any means necessary.” This statement by Jean-Paul is utter bullshit because it has no accord for personal responsibility.
The individuals who carried out this attack were not only lacking a sense of personal responsibility, but self awareness. To them, the disabled white man they kidnapped and tortured was an apparent symbol and benefactor of ‘the oppressive system,’ and thus, hurting him was an accepted way to fight back against the system, falling under the all-encompassing words “any means necessary”.
I don’t understand the point of doing anything by any means necessary. I think that the means make the act, and that there is little point trying to bring about good things by bad ones. This piece was about making a statement, drawing a clear connection between this type of ideology and this type of action. If by this point anyone is not aware, the imagery of this dry-point etching is a direct screenshot from the raw footage of the live-stream.
This was the first really political piece I have ever attempted, but I felt that I couldn’t not do it, because this incident moved me so strongly. Here you can see my process between the first and second states:
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