"bring out your dead": Understanding the historical persistence of the criminalization of black bodies

Bryant Keith Alexander, Marquis Bey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This essay speaks to the criminalization of Black bodies via the purported "confession" of wrongdoing that Blackness makes through the interpretive White gaze. Blackness operates as a site of always imminently actualized criminality or pathology that must be quelled or eradicated. Using James Baldwin's meditation on the function of Wayne Williams's body as a historical anchor, this essay seks to articulate the contemporary ways in which Black bodies are positioned via the White gaze, as well as demonstrate the continuity of anti-Black violence, itself predicated on what Charles Mills calls an "epistemology of ignorance."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-277
Number of pages7
JournalCultural Studies - Critical Methodologies
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2016

Keywords

  • Black bodies
  • Epistemology of ignorance
  • James Baldwin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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