The (bio)Politics of Respectability: An Epiphany

Vigils for the dead-dead, hosted by the socially dead.

T-shirts, hashtags, placards and blogposts to honor the dead-dead.

These are tactics to reintroduce death into the realm of politics.

Because power’s grip on the body of the socially dead ends when they are rendered dead-dead.

And thus, they are effaced, buried literally and epistemically.

The (bio)politics of respectability is a way to reintroduce the dead-dead into the political sphere.

While respectability** is not bulletproof, it can, and does, enable the dead-dead to outlive the bullets.

But at what cost? When do we celebrate the living?

**Respectability is premised upon a belief that one can appeal to a white supremacist system by conforming to its mores and standards.¬†Respectability says that if you carry yourself a certain way, or speak with a certain inflection, that you’ll be regarded as a human being.¬†Respectability presumes that marginalized groups’ collective humanity rests upon middle class accomplishments and aesthetics.

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