"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 article

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 - Jan 1 2016

Keywords

  • Black bodies
  • Epistemology of ignorance
  • James Baldwin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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