Judith Butler on Police Brutality and Rodney King.
The police are structurally placed to protect whiteness against violence, where violence is the imminent action of the black male body. And because within this schema, the police protect whiteness, their own violence cannot be read as violence; because the black male body is the site and source of danger, a threat, the police effort to subdue this body, even if in advance, is justified regardless of the circumstances. Or rather, the conviction of that justification rearranges and orders the circumstances to fit that conclusion… He is hit in exchange for the blows he never delivered, but which he is, by virtue of his blackness, always about to deliver.
Judith Butler, on why video of Rodney King’s beating wasn’t sufficient evidence for a jury to convict the officers responsible, Endangered/Endangering: Schematic Racism and White Paranoia