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“I Do It for the ’Gram and Do It for Myself”: Bearing Witness, Self-Archiving, and Avoiding Capture under Racial Capitalism

Michael L. Thomas

Pages 219 - 240



This publication is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives 4.0.

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This article explores the work of Fabrice Lubin, a psychotherapist in Chicago, and Marquise Richards, an educator in Reading, Pennsylvania, who organize online events and promote media that engage with the impact of racism on professional, political, and community life. Their work shows how the practice of self-archiving brings individuals together into communities that, when well organized, can serve as political counterpublics. Through the aesthetics of bearing witness, these communities can connect individual experiences to community issues as a platform for collective action. I argue that successful action requires that the individuals who facilitate the construction of archives ground their work in the concerns and material interests of the community to avoid replicating the exploitative habits of racial capitalism that threaten social movements in the age of social media.

Key Words:black aesthetics; black existentialism; social media; identity capitalism; culture work

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