Anti-Blackness as a Form of BioPolitics: Remembering Renisha McBride and Jonathan Ferrell

Renisha McBride. Jonathan Ferrell. Remember these names.

To be Black in America is to inhabit a body that is always already criminalized/suspect.

  • We cannot be still or “idle”, lest we violate laws designed to police the movement of bodies previously (and currently, in the form of prison labor*) valued for their coercive and re/productive labor.
  • We cannot ask for help from law enforcement, because our bodies themselves are a violation of the spaces they are sworn to protect. Regardless, every 28 hours in the U.S., another Black person is slain by law enforcement officers.
  • We cannot wear the “right” clothing, have the “right” degrees or speak the “right” way to save ourselves from the fear that kills.
  • We cannot even discipline our children to be “good enough” to avoid the punitive acts of state institutions that would funnel them from school classrooms to prison cells.
  • Even being born into this country costs us dearly- with higher rates of maternal and infant mortality rates among Black patients- rates comparable to the “developing world.”

*The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

SECTION 1.

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

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