Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Jordan Edwards: One More Body for America's Necropolis of Black Death

Last Saturday evening, 15-year-old Jordan Edwards had his head blown off by a Dallas-area police officer. Jordan Edwards was killed for the "crime" of attending a party at a friend's house. While leaving said party Jordan Edwards and his friends were apparently in a car that was driven in an "aggressive" manner. Of course, this turned out to not be true. The police killed Jordan Edwards while and he and his friends were in no way a threat to police or the public. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it clear this is the type of aggressive unrestrained "law and order" policing that he supports.

Trump's America isn't new. The black body is always a threat. This is America working exactly as designed. Randolph Hohle (who I have spoken with for the podcast) has a great essay over at Racism Review which sums this up perfectly. There he writes:
Racialized bodies anchor racist meanings into publics. The body is a form of communication at the visual and affective level that communicates political meanings, narratives, and myths, and in turn, connects audiences with distinct and otherwise unconnected publics. Audiences read publics as sympathetic, dangerous, or subversive; as sacred or profane; as good or bad. Rather than use history to break down or ‘deconstruct’ the origins of elite white power, I prefer the analytical framework of assemblages to explain how the white racial frame operates like a web of racist meanings that connect publics with economic policy, with geography, and with police brutality.
Alas, this is but one more body for the necropolis of black death. I have nothing left to say about our new old normal. Donald Trump will stand mute. Never forget that Barack Obama was derided while president for daring to show a tiny bit of empathy with black boys and men unjustly killed by America's police and street vigilantes. Where is the public rage? Where are the acts of civil disobedience and disorder? Where are the resistant acts of corporeal politics? How will White America and its news media portray Jordan Edwards as being responsible for his own murder?

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