Elizabeth Alexander: On Viral Videos of Black Pain

A still from the video of Rodney King being beaten by Los Angeles police officers in 1991. Credit: George Holliday/Courtesy of KTLA Los Angeles, via Associated Press.

In an interview with the New York Times, scholar and writer Elizabeth Alexander revisits her article “'Can you be Black and Look at This?': Reading the Rodney King Video(s)." Ruminating on the viral video of George Floyd's murder, Alexander questions how technology has made images of Black people in pain more pervasive in today's culture, ultimately dehumanizing Black life.

"To inform is one thing, to bear witness is another thing. But to just roll the video without a moment that says a life was taken here, a person was dehumanized here in the way that black people have been dehumanized throughout our history?"