Biopolitics

In 2013, the Black Lives Matter movement took to the streets to protest the police forces and private citizens who kill Black people yet receive no penalty of any kind. The movement directly names and confronts a signature aspect of the United States government: that it treats Black people as disposable bodies valuable only for the labor which may be extracted from them and who thus can be killed with impunity by its agents. The movement fights back by valuing Black lives and holding police forces and private citizens accountable for murder. By emphasizing lives over bodies, Black Lives Matter’s name exposes these assumptions, which have been baked for centuries into the history of the United States.

The wish to expose and contest the state’s self-granted right to kill people of color animates like-minded left-leaning projects such as Black Trans Lives Matter and Native Lives Matter. Cops too, have …

This essay may be found on page 22 of the printed volume.

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