1. For Hortense Spillers, gendered dynamics specific to Black people are certainly related to, but yet distinct from the dominant gender codes. Spillers’s argument locates the Middle Passage as a defining process by which overriding violence and the exigencies of the Black flesh trade resulted in an imposed suspension of gender distinctions. As a result, struggles over Black people’s humanity and gender performance became emblematic of the Black presence in the diaspora. And while the uncertain relationship between blackness and gender constitutes a significant axis along which one’s individual and collective worth is protested, it also enables possibilities of gender performance beyond normative expectations; it is therefore also potentially transformative. See Black, White, and in Color, 214–15.
2. For a compelling example of the use of “i” noncapitalized, see Shakur, Assata. Dylan Rodriguez, in “Inhabiting the Impasse,” argues that the phrase “mass incarceration” as it is employed in the current public debate is useless because it obscures racial disparities in dynamics of punishment. The effort here, precisely, is to examine such disparities and, more specifically, to zero in on the antiblack logic of social management that leads to massive imprisonment. Hence my employment of “targeted mass incarceration.”
3. See, for example, the work of Simone Browne that shows the ways in which legal and practical technologies developed to police the enslaved, such as the lantern laws, are precursors to, and share their assumptive logic with, contemporary forms of antiblack policing in the Americas. Browne, Dark Matters, esp. chap. 2. It is well-known that Nixon had a special appreciation for Blacks. In the midst of the war on drugs, H. R. Haldeman, Nixon’s chief of staff, paraphrased the president’s thought as such: “P [the president] emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to. Pointed out that there has never in history been an adequate black nation, and they are the only race of which this is true. Says Africa is hopeless. The worst there is Liberia, which we built.” He continued, recording that the great administrative and political challenge of their time was to acknowledge that “the whole problem is really the blacks” while operating the state machine as if this were not the case. See New York Times, “Haldeman Diary.”
4. Gilmore, Golden Gulag.
5. For a detailed argument on why the United States is an empire-state, rather than a nation-state, see Jung, Beneath the Surface of White Supremacy, esp. chap. 3. Proposing that “we see less like the state and more like the ruled,” Jung reminds us of the following: “For the indigenous peoples, the United States immediately became one more empire-state with which they had to contend” (61). From its very beginning, the formation of the U.S. state “comprised not only the states but also other political spaces, which were to be ruled ultimately as Congress saw fit and would not have voting representation in the federal government” (62). Shaping the usurpation and annexation of political spaces and territories, contiguous or not, is the fact that the empire-state project “has always been a racist process. The politics around conquering and taking possession of Texas and what would become the U.S. Southwest from Mexico, for example, was patently structured by anti-Mexican racism, as numerous studies have shown” (63). Throughout this book, as a heuristic proposition, the Brazilian state will also be categorized as an empire-state. The U.S. and Brazilian empire-states engaged in genocidal usurpation of indigenous land. Both annexed territories claimed by other countries. For example, in 1903, the Petropolis Treaty effectively annexed the Acre territory to the Brazilian state, thus annulling the political control Bolivia had over it. It is known that, at least since the 1200s, multiple indigenous groups, most of which spoke Pano and Aruak, occupied land around the rivers Acre, Iaco, Chandless, Purus, Envira, and Jurua. Since the 1500s they have been embattled, and often killed close to extinction, by weapons, forced dislocation, and disease; and by expansionist missions originating in Spain, Portugal, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil, among others (see, for example, Meirelles, “Os Indios Isolados no Acre,” 519). Relevant to this discussion is the current migration of Haitian citizens to Brazil, not unrelated to Brazil’s role in the UN mission in Haiti. The UN’s mission in Haiti, as several commentators have argued, is an obvious imperial occupation, thus rendering Brazil’s prominent participation in it equally imperial. Elsewhere, i remarked on the antiblack character of the Brazilian mission in Haiti, and its parallels to favela occupations in Rio (see Vargas, “Gendered Antiblackness,” 9–10). Antiblackness informs much of the Brazilian military presence in Haiti. The number of people killed in military operations would be unimaginable in a nonblack nation. Brazilian political, military, and economic actions confirm Jung’s theorizations on the nature and process of the empire-state. Another critical consequence of the adoption of the empire-state theoretical approach is that “the racial domination of colonized peoples [e.g., Indians] does not happen in isolation from that of noncolonized peoples [e.g., Blacks], and vice versa. Though qualitatively different, they are intimately and intricately linked. Rather than a series of self-contained dyadic relations between Whites and various racial others, White supremacy comprises a web of crisscrossing discursive and practical ties. It is a unified, though differentiated, field that calls for a united, though differentiated, theoretical framework” (Jung, 68.) In this book, i propose that antiblackness provides the discursive and practical ties that, while paradigmatically objectifying Black bodies, connect all racialized groups in a system of advantages and disadvantages. All nonblacks attain social value relative to their distance from Blacks. The greater the distance, the greater the value.
6. This argument can be drawn from Flauzina, Corpo Negro Caído no Chão.
7. Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 227.
8. Davis, “End Mass Incarceration.”
9. In 1968 only ten U.S. states had automated state-level criminal justice information systems; by the mid-1970s, all fifty states were part of the National Crime Information Center (NCIS). NCIS requires increasingly sophisticated and expansive surveillance and data processing technologies to feed it. See Parenti, Lockdown America, 20. On federal law changes made in the 1980s to allow local enforcement agencies to retain and use all resources acquired from asset forfeitures, see Alexander, New Jim Crow, 78. In the context of an expanding carceral network, it is thus established an obvious feedback loop between the increasing need for surveillance and the increasing need for resources.
10. Farrell, “Omnipresence.”
11. I thank Moon-Kie Jung for this discussion. His insight about the expansive carceral system helped me fine-tune the formulation of antiblackness.
12. See, for example, Waiselfizs, Mapa da Violência; Paixão, Rossetto, and Carvano, Relatório das Desigualdades Raciais no Brasil.
13. Many critical Brazilian studies authors have emphasized continuities, rather than fundamental differences, between social relations in Brazil and the United States. See, for example, Gilliam, “Black Feminist Perspective”; Hanchard, “Acts of Misrecognition”; Santos, “Brazilian Black Women’s NGOs”; Perry, Black Women against the Land Grab; Alves, “Narratives of Violence”; and Rocha, “Outraged Mothering.”
14. This paragraph is based on Vargas, “Gendered Antiblackness,” 6–7.
15. See Paixão, Rossetto, and Carvano, Relatório das Desigualdades Raciais no Brasil; Winant, World Is a Ghetto. Gilmore established the relationship between racism and vulnerability to death (Golden Gulag); here i follow a similar path and specify the formulation by placing antiblackness at its core.
16. Harrison, “Global Apartheid”; Hartman, Scenes of Subjection.
17. Sexton, “People-of-Color-Blindness,” 47.
18. See Bullard, Dumping in Dixie; see also the Flint, Michigan, water crisis that started in April 2014. Extremely elevated levels of harmful bacteria, cancerous chemicals, and lead were found in the city’s drinking water. It is of course significant that Flint is, according to the 2010 census, almost 57 percent Black.
19. Mauer, Changing Racial Dynamics of Women’s Incarceration, 2.
20. Wolfers, Leonhardt, and Quealy, “Methodology.”
21. Waiselfizs, Mapa da Violência.
22. Goldstein, “Judge Rejects New York’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy.”
23. Sentencing Project, State of Sentencing.
24. Savage, “U.S. Orders More Steps.”
25. See, for example, Seelye, “In Heroin Crisis, White Families.”
26. Davis and Pérez-Peña, “Holder Weighs Dismantling.”
27. Eisen-Martin, We Charge Genocide Again!
28. Secretaria Nacional da Juventude, “O Plano.”
29. For an analysis of the 2013 protests, see chapter 5, as well as Vargas, “Black Disidentification”; and Alves and Vargas, “On Deaf Ears.”
30. Secretaria do Estado, “Segurança UPP.”
31. For the paradigmatically antiblack nature of residential segregation in the United States, see Massey and Denton, “Hypersegregation,” where among many other census-based arguments, the authors show that, compared to Latin@s, “not only are blacks more segregated on any single dimension of residential segregation, they are also more likely to be segregated on all five dimensions [evenness, exposure, clustering, centralization, and concentration] simultaneously, which never occurs for Hispanics. Moreover, in a significant subset of large urban areas, blacks experience extreme segregation in all dimensions, a pattern we call hypersegregation. . . . We conclude that blacks occupy a unique and distinctly disadvantaged position in U.S. urban environment” (373). In American Apartheid Massey and Denton show that the richest Blacks were more intensely segregated than the more impoverished Latin@s; Blacks did not seek all-Black neighborhoods (differently than Whites, who reveal a low tolerance for even modest proportions of Black neighbors); levels of Black residential segregation varied little by levels of income; and a combination of discriminatory lending practices and steering by real-estate agents contributed to consolidate what the authors call Black hypersegregation. For the interplay between residential segregation and wealth, see Oliver and Shapiro, Black Wealth / White Wealth; and Shapiro, Hidden Cost. See also Vargas, Never Meant to Survive, where patterns of antiblack residential segregation in Rio de Janeiro and Los Angeles are analyzed and rendered commensurable rather than distinct phenomena. Analyses of antiblack residential segregation in this book will show the ways in which it persists and is compounded by a litany of empire-state- and society-sanctioned technologies of surveillance and dispossession.
32. Bell, “Brown v. Board of Education,” 524.
33. Hartman and Wilderson, “Position of the Unthought.”
34. See, for example, Miles, Ties That Bind and House on Diamond Hill; Krauthamer, Black Slaves, Indian Masters.
35. Hartman, Scenes of Subjection, 21.
36. Or, as Frank Wilderson and Tryon Woods would say, the problem of Black revolution is the problem of human freedom. See, for example, Woods, “Beat It Like a Cop,” 21.
37. United States Department of Justice, Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department, 4.
38. See Garza, “Creation of a Movement”; and Reaja ou Será Morto / Reaja ou Será Morta, “Quem Somos.”
39. PBS Newshour, “Democratic Debate.”
40. Kohan et al., Orange Is the New Black.
41. Vargas, Catching Hell.
42. Vargas, “Inner City and the Favela.”
43. Vargas, “When the Favela Dared.”
44. See Werneck, “De Ialodês e Feministas.”
46. Secretaria Nacional, “Mulheres Ocupam.”
47. Gomes, “Against the Current.”
48. Gordon, Bad Faith and Antiblack Racism, 94.
49. Audre Lorde noted how blackness overdetermines gender and sexuality when she commented on her son’s experience of discrimination not because he lived in a household headed by two women (Lorde and her lover Frances), but because one of them, Lorde, was Black: “In the namecalling at school, boys shouted at Johnathan not—‘your mother’s a lesbian’—but rather—‘your mother’s a nigger.’” Sister Outsider, 75.
50. Moten is the source for the “objection of the abjection.” See his In the Break.
51. On blackness and well-being, see a growing literature that explores Black people’s susceptibility to medical experiments, exposure to environmental hazards, and disease, including Roberts, Killing the Black Body; Cohen, Boundaries of Blackness; Washington, Medical Apartheid; Metzl, Protest Psychosis; and Bullard, Dumping in Dixie. See also Nelson’s Body and Soul for how Black people have attempted to implement their own medical practices and notions of well-being.
52. There is of course an extensive and ongoing debate about “structure” and “agency” as principles of sociability and categories of analysis. Questions about their definition and how they interact remain. In his discussion of slavery and social death, which is central to this project, Patterson touches on the problem. Whereas i have been emphasizing the feedback loop between structure and agency, and specifically the primacy of antiblack structuring principles over individual and social agency, Patterson prefers to stress distinctions between “mental structures” and “what is actually going on.” He also locates in the “mental structures” not structuring forces, but rather attempts to explain how sociality happens. Patterson’s understanding of the feedback process between structure and “reality,” however, is closer to the argument i am formulating. Here is Patterson: “In all societies, of course, there is a distinction between what is actually going on and the mental structures that attempt to define and explain the reality. I do not mean normative patterns, for these are merely prescriptive. I refer, rather, to what Lévi-Strauss has termed ‘a culture’s homemade models,’ developed to explain the actual social processes. . . . At their most sophisticated, such native models may take into account the variance between practice and norm and also provide ‘explanations’ for such variance. It is the difference, for example between the legal codes and the jurisprudence of a culture, and their application to actual legal practice and procedure. The mental structures have some basis in reality, although their explanatory power varies considerably from one culture to the other. More important, they not only reflect with varying degrees of accuracy the reality that informs them, but in turn feed back on and shape the ordering of that reality” (Slavery and Social Death, 19–20). For other theorizations on structure and agency, see, for example, Sahlins, Culture and Practical Reason; Alexander, Twenty Lectures; and a number of instructive review articles on the theme, such as Hays, “Structure and Agency.”
53. Baldwin, “My Dungeon Shook,” 294.
54. Bell, “Racial Realism,” 302, 308.
55. Elsewhere, i discussed this canonical move in the context of a dialogue with Clyde Woods. See Vargas, “Clyde Woods.”
56. See Goff et al., “Not Yet Human.” On the consequences of implicit antiblack bias on the detection of crime-relevant objects, see Eberhardt et al., “Seeing Black.”
57. Following Howard Winant, we could say that in the United States a shift in empire-state consciousness, and its attending policies, took place in the 1950s. In Brazil, arguably a similar shift took place in the 1930s with the consolidation of the racial democracy theses. Both contexts are marked by a corresponding change in the official approach to social conflict. Such change was marked by the transition from forms of White supremacist governance marked by domination to new forms marked by hegemony. The shift is evidence of global White supremacy’s capacity to adapt, and not of global White supremacy’s decline. See Winant, World Is a Ghetto.
58. Tesler and Sears, “President Obama”; Pasek, Krosnick, and Tompson, “Impact of Anti-Black Racism.”
59. Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, 110.
60. By emphasizing structural positionalities, i certainly moved away from Gordon’s take on antiblack racism as an existential phenomenon. Gordon’s analysis of the above passage of Black Skin, White Masks is critical of Fanon’s failure to engage with the existential aspect, the lived experience, of blackness. “The ontology he [Fanon] is criticizing,” says Gordon, “is the form that demands ontology to look at the black from the ‘outside.’ Yet his own experience of being the black man seen as being seen—‘Look, Negro!’—can only be understood as a realization of perspectivity, as an existential situation. His analysis calls for, and in fact is, an appreciation of the body as an ontological figure constantly confronted by the possibility of a bad-faith reduction of itself, a reduction into pure Presence or pure Absence” (Bad Faith, 135).
61. The quotation comes from the following passage, where the field of asymmetrical relational positionalities is described as a flawed but effective logic. It is flawed because “all human beings are present and . . . simultaneously absent,” yet it is effective because it structures human interactions. “The white body is expected to be seen by others without seeing itself being seen. Its presence is therefore its perspectivity. Its mode of being, being self-justified, is never superfluous. Unlike the black, whose transformation from Absence to Presence poses a threat to the precarious balance of reality, the white is already Presence and therefore poses no such threat—except, perhaps, in his absence. This is because, as once pointed out by William James, there is no more reality than what there is. The conclusion, then, is that reality is threatened by the inclusion of blacks, whereas reality is jeopardized by the exclusion or diminution of white presence” (Gordon, Bad Faith, 103).
62. Ibid., 105.
63. As Gordon posits, “There is no black consciousness from the standpoint of an antiblack world” (ibid., 116).
64. Wilderson, Red, Black, and White, 58. The next paragraphs are re-elaborations of what i previously wrote in “Black Disidentification,” 2–3.
65. See, for example, Winant, World Is a Ghetto; Barlow, Between Fear and Hope.
66. Hartman, Scenes of Subjection, 10; see also Hartman, Lose Your Mother, 45, where she asks, “What was the afterlife of slavery and when might it be eradicated?”
67. Fanon, Wretched of the Earth; Wilderson, “Gramsci’s Black Marx.”
68. Hartman, Scenes of Subjection, 85.
69. Wilderson, Red, Black, and White, 55.
70. Patterson, Slavery and Social Death, 6, 10, 13, 24.
71. “Voluntary servitude, however, was not slavery” (ibid., 27).
72. Patterson’s sample is a subset of anthropologist George P. Murdock’s study that focuses on 186 world societies. For Patterson’s methodology and the societies he analyzed, see ibid., 343–52.
73. James, New Abolitionists; see also Rodriguez, Suspended Apocalypse.
74. This assertion is not to negate Cedric Robinson’s claim that the Black’s degradation, the advent of the “Negro,” is a European phenomenon that precedes the colonial enterprise and the enslavement of Africans. See Black Marxism. Rather, it is to emphasize the present-ness of slavery as a structuring principle informing antiblackness.
75. Wilderson seems careful in assembling this group of thinkers. “Though they do not form anything as ostentatious as a school of thought, and though their attitudes toward and acknowledgement of Fanon vary, the moniker Afro-pessimists neither infringes on their individual differences nor exaggerates their fidelity to a shared set of assumptions. It should be noted that of the Afro-pessimists—Hortense Spillers, Ronald Judy, David Marriott, Saidiya Hartman, Achille Mbembe, Frantz Fanon, Kara Keeling, Jared Sexton, Joy James, Lewis Gordon, George Yancy, and Orlando Patterson—only James and Patterson are social scientists” (Red, Black, and White, 58).
76. Of course this generalization merits scrutiny. It is made in the spirit of inciting a reflection that is mostly lacking: the complicity of canonical critical studies, including U.S. Black studies, not only with U.S. imperialism but also with antiblackness. Most Brazilian studies on Blackness are not any less suspect as they rarely engage the proposition of a foundational antiblackness animating formations of subjectivity, sociality, and empire-state, which of course include the ways in which research inquiries are elaborated and carried out.
77. Hartman, Scenes of Subjection; Wilderson, Incognegro.
78. See, for example, Wilderson, “Biko and the Problematic of Presence.”
79. McKittrick, Sylvia Winter, 49. Notice, for example, the attention that the latest Black performance at the National Football League Super Bowl’s halftime receives from U.S. cultural critics and academics, while the event’s very foundational imperial and capitalist logic—a logic that in this particular case produces no subtlety, as military might and commodity consumption are the order of the day—is absent from the analysis. The dearth of critical works linking imperialism, capitalism, and antiblackness is therefore unremarkable.
80. Noliwe Rooks’s assessment of contemporary Black studies harmonizes with Wynter’s musings. Rooks shows that at the height of Black Power–inspired mobilization and revolt, and the demands for Black studies that sprung from them, the Ford Foundation played an important role in carrying out containment strategies in colleges and universities. Rooks states that “the grants made between 1968 and 1971, with two exceptions, were awarded to programs and institutions that viewed Black Studies as a means to diversify a predominantly White curriculum and institution, promote integration, and perhaps most importantly, give the more militant version of separatism and Black Nationalism a wide berth.” Rooks, White Money / Black Power, 94; also referenced in Saucier and Woods, “Hip Hop Studies in Black,” 271. The Ford Foundation explicitly sought to weaken the influence of the militant Black Power movement that led to the formation of U.S. Black studies in the first place. It sought to foster a Black studies that would service the needs of White people for racial understanding and acceptance. According to P. Khalil Saucier and Tryon Woods, it is thus unsurprising that “much of what constitutes black studies today . . . is not radical and revolutionary in its intellectual impulses or practice; it is not the progeny of black revolution and opposition. Rather, it is in large measure the outgrowth of an intentional strategy of containment.” “Hip Hop Studies in Black,” 271. The focus on antiblackness is anathema to canonical Black studies which, funded and structured to appease rather than to fundamentally challenge, has little place for the absolute freedom that the Black and her social life of social death demands. (For the formulation on the social life of social death, see Sexton, “Social Life of Social Death.”) This, of course, is not to discount the emergence of several, more openly oppositional Black studies projects and related academic concentrations since the 1970s, nor the anti-antiblack work and organizing initiatives that sprung from and/or articulated with them. By painting the canonical picture with broad strokes, my intention is to show that such anti-antiblack initiatives, and the focus on the structures of antiblackness, are not the norm.
81. Moten, “Blackness and Nothingness,” 737. Moten’s appreciation of Afro-pessimism is particularly relevant since in previous writings he had been quite critical. In “The Case of Blackness,” Moten suggested that Afro-pessimism not only incorporated tropes of Black pathology into its analysis, but also revealed Wilderson and Sexton’s investment in the tragic and the neurotic. In his previous critique, then, Moten provided a voice to the canonical response to Afro-pessimism.
82. Ward, Men We Reaped, 127–28.
83. Laymon, How to Slowly Kill Yourself, 47–48.
84. Other efforts to grapple with the fantastic from a Black perspective, in various degrees of engagement with death, include Moten, In the Break; Iton, In Search of the Black Fantastic; and Holland, Raising the Dead.
85. See Saucier and Woods, On Marronage, where Robinson’s insights are contextualized in a critical discussion of Black studies.
86. McKittrick, Sylvia Winter, 62–63. Wynter’s project intersects with that of the theorists of the afterlife of slavery insofar as they recognize the limitations of the Marxist framework (40) and find in Fanon’s writings a generative set of concepts. Both zero in on the urgent question of freedom by asking who and what we are as humans. Importantly, both projects recognize the transhistorical Black experience as that which can and must serve as the/a basis from which to reconceptualize human freedom. Following McKittrick’s analysis in Demonic Grounds, Wynter sees the Middle Passage as origin of a “dialectical terrain of struggle” where the question of who we are as human is foundational (62).
87. Wilderson, “Prison Slave as Hegemony’s [Silent] Scandal,” 32.
88. Omi and Winant, Racial Formation, 130.
89. Yancey, Who Is White? 15, 72, 76, 71, 80.
90. On Black–nonblack racial disparities in health and well-being, nutrition, access to social security, access to education, and victimization by violence and the police, see Paixão, Rossetto, and Carvano, Relatório das Desigualdades Raciais no Brasil; on Black–nonblack racial disparities in vulnerability to homicide and police homicide, see Waiselfizs, Mapa da Violência; on patterns of antiblack residential segregation, see Oliveira, “O Caso do Estado”; and Dávila, Diploma of Whiteness.
91. On why data on pretos and pardos reveal proximity in the social experiences of Blacks of varied complexions, and reveal a persistent distance to the social experience of Whites, see Paixão, Rossetto, and Carvano, Relatório das Desigualdades Raciais no Brasil, 26–27. Here the emphasis is on income, formal education, life expectancy, and vulnerability to homicide.
92. See Mariani et al., “Mapa.”
93. For an analysis of the city of São Paulo’s patterns of antiblack residential segregation and their relation to police homicide, see Vargas and Alves, “Geographies of Death.”
94. Reaja ou Será Morto / Reaja ou Será Morta, “Quem Somos.”
95. See Cable, “Racial Dot Map.”
1. Does Heaven Have a Ghetto?
1. See, for example, Cacho, Social Death; and Márquez, “Black Mohicans.”
2. State of Texas, “Overview of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.” The Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) was created on December 1, 2011, when the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission (TJPC) and Texas Youth Commission (TYC) were abolished.
Delinquent conduct involves violations such as (1) a felony offense or a misdemeanor punishable with jail time; (2) a violation of lawful court orders; (3) driving, flying, or boating while intoxicated, intoxication assault, or intoxication manslaughter; (4) a third or subsequent offense of driving under the influence of alcohol, which requires only a detectable amount of alcohol in a minor’s system (Office of the Attorney General, Juvenile Justice, 24). According to the Texas Family Code, there are seven types of CINS: (1) any fineable offense; (2) public intoxication; (3) truancy; (4) running away; (5) inhalant abuse; (6) expulsion for violation of a school district’s student code of conduct; and (7) violation of a reasonable and lawful “child at risk” court order (Office of the Attorney General, Juvenile Justice, 23).
3. Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, State of Juvenile Probation, 16.
4. Ibid., 8.
5. See, for example, Parenti, Lockdown America; and Acuna, Occupied America.
6. State of Texas, “Overview of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.”
7. Travis County, “Juvenile Court.”
8. State of Texas, “Overview of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.” See Figure 1.
9. Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, State of Juvenile Probation, 12, 14.
10. The term “Hispanic” is inadequate for several reasons, not the least of which is that it suggests Spanish as the main language a “Hispanic” person speaks. Among the so-called Hispanic incarcerated kids, a considerable number of those who came from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala spoke indigenous languages. Latin@s include non-Spanish-speaking people of Central and South America, and is therefore a category with broader reach. There are, of course, a number of other categories, such a Chican@, Xican@, Xicanindi@, and Indi@, that are used to self-identify. Those, however, unless pointed to in the text, were not used by the incarcerated kids.
11. Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, State of Juvenile Probation, 12.
12. See, for example, Alexander, New Jim Crow.
13. Petersilia, When Prisoners Come Home.
14. Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, State of Juvenile Probation, 14.
15. Ibid., 18.
16. Ibid., 16–18.
17. See, for example, Davis, City of Quartz; Donziger, Real War on Crime; Kelley, “‘Slangin’ Rocks.”
18. See Alexander, New Jim Crow; Foucault, Discipline and Punish; Parenti, Lockdown America.
19. Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, State of Juvenile Probation, 17.
23. Alexander, New Jim Crow; Donziger, Real War on Crime.
24. Zehr and Villalpando, “Income Segregation in Austin.” For a historical perspective on labor markets and residential segregation in Austin between 1950 and 1973, see Busch, “Building ‘A City of Upper-Middle-Class Citizens.’”
25. Zehr and Villalpando, “Income Segregation in Austin.”
27. See, for example, Sugrue, Origins of the Urban Crisis; Vargas and Alves, “Geographies of Death”; Perry, Black Women against the Land Grab.
28. Chandler and Kingery, “Speaking Out against State Violence”; Chesney-Lind, “Imprisoning Women”; Richie, “Social Impact of Mass Incarceration on Women”; Sudbury, Global Lockdown.
29. See Cable, “Racial Dot Map.”
30. Central Texas Sustainability Project, 2012 Data Report, 37.
31. Zehr and Villalpando, “Income Segregation in Austin.”
32. Central Texas Sustainability Project, 2012 Data Report, 32.
33. Ibid., 34, 35.
34. Texas Appleseed, Texas’ School-to-Prison Pipeline, 1.
35. Ibid., 25, 17.
36. Ibid., 26.
37. See, for example, Goff et al., “Not Yet Human.”
38. Texas Appleseed, Texas’ School-to-Prison Pipeline, 61.
39. Ibid., 4, 38.
40. Ibid., 4.
41. Like Black and, to a lesser extent, Latin@ kids, special education students experience levels of referrals that are disproportionate to their numbers in school districts. Even though they constitute 11 percent of the total Texas public school population, in 2005–6 special education students were 22 percent of the DAEP referrals, 26 percent of OSS, and 21 percent of ISS. And to press home the finding that Texas public schools have a special fondness for the most vulnerable, between 2001 and 2006, about 3,200 pre-K, kindergarten, and first graders were referred to DAEPs—even though, by law, only bringing a firearm to school constitutes an offense for which this type of punishment is mandatory. While these patterns, on the surface, may suggest an anti-nonwhite institutional disposition, the close analysis in this book shows a fundamental and overarching antiblackness that affects nonblack constituencies, albeit not as intensely as it oppresses Blacks. See Texas Appleseed, Texas’ School-to-Prison Pipeline, 5.
42. Ibid., 35.
43. American Psychological Association, Are Zero Tolerance Policies Effective in the Schools? 4–5.
44. Ibid., 6.
45. See Texas Appleseed, Texas’ School-to-Prison Pipeline, 29.
46. On patterns of antiblack residential hypersegregation, see Massey and Denton, American Apartheid; on the absolutely unique and blocked patterns of intergenerational transmission of occupation and wealth for Blacks, see Oliver and Shapiro, Black Wealth / White Wealth; and Shapiro, Hidden Cost.
47. Rodriguez, Forced Passages, 261.
48. See, for example, Glasser, “Drug Busts.”
49. Cohen, Boundaries of Blackness.
50. Roser and Coppinger, “How Deadly Is Your ZIP Code?”
52. Massey and Denton, “Hypersegregation.”
53. SOY Collective, Does Heaven Have a Ghetto? 37.
54. Ibid., 15.
55. Woods, “Les Misérables of New Orleans.”
56. Massey and Denton, American Apartheid.
57. Gilmore, Golden Gulag, 26.
58. See, for example, Márquez, “Black Mohicans”; and Márquez, Black–Brown Solidarity.
59. Tang and Ren, “Outlier.”
2. Stanzas of Oppression and Hope
1. Cohen, “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens”; Kelley, Yo’ Mama’s Disfunktional!
2. On the imaginative labor of insurgency and freedom, see, for example, Harney and Moten, Undercommons; and Holloway, Change the World.
3. Gomez, “Against the Current.”
4. Thelen and Valdez, I Come from a Teardrop, 2.
5. As a number of authors would have it, for example, Márquez, Black–Brown Solidarity.
6. This expression is drawn from Wilderson, Red, White, and Black.
7. Márquez, “Browning of Black Politics,” 48.
8. Hartman, Scenes of Subjection.
9. This set of theoretical propositions was elaborated in the Introduction and derives from Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks; Gordon, Bad Faith; Sexton, “Social Life of Social Death”; and Wilderson, Red, White, and Black.
10. For social death theses see, for example, Patterson, Slavery and Social Death; Hartman, Scenes of Subjection; Wilderson, Red, White, and Black; and Sexton, “Social Life of Social Death.”
11. Aizer and Doyle, “Juvenile Incarceration.”
12. Sojoyner, “Black Radicals.”
13. Thelen and Valdez, I Come from a Teardrop, 33.
15. On surveillance and sousveillance, see Browne, Dark Matters.
16. Thelen and Valdez, I Come from a Teardrop, 33–35.
17. State of Texas, “Overview of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.”
18. This, in fact, was the result of extensive research conducted by Texas Advocates for Justice in 2015 with formerly incarcerated adults and their families. In these individuals’ accounts, the themes of personal responsibility and accountability were prominent.
19. There were multiple nonprofit and for-profit organizations whose workers’ schedules intersected with ours, so we’d see them while circulating in and out of the juvenile prison. Their mere presence suggests a sizeable industry that depends on the incarceration of young people. Of course, if one were to speak with these workers, they would probably say they were interested in the rehabilitation of the youths and even, perhaps, that the juvenile prison system should be abolished—just like us. For reflections on these contradictions, see, for example, Incite! Revolution Will Not Be Funded.
20. A young Black woman, VV, wrote about an incident with the nurse: “Today I was angry about this nurse / who hurt my feelings. / I wanted to hit her / but I thought before I acted . . .” Thelen and Valdez, I Come from a Teardrop, 30.
21. SOY Collective. Does Heaven Have a Ghetto? 53.
22. Ibid., 20.
23. Ibid., 50, 55.
24. On the differentiated impact of economic trends on Black families, see Irwin, Miller, and Sanger-Katz, “America’s Racial Divide”; on family structure and incarceration, see Petersilia, When Prisoners Come Home.
25. Roberts, Shattered Bonds, 8.
26. SOY Collective, Does Heaven Have a Ghetto? 37.
27. Sexton, “Social Life of Social Death.”
3. Negotiating Quotidian Violence and Uncertain Futures
1. Thelen and Valdez, I Come from a Teardrop, 12.
2. SOY Collective, Does Heaven Have a Ghetto? 47.
3. See Díaz-Cotto, Chicana Lives, 31–35, on families of Chicanas incarcerated or formerly incarcerated (pintas) and involved with illegal drugs. Her account is revealing of a series of similarities and differences between Chicana and Black young women’s social networks and spaces of socialization.
4. Thelen and Valdez, I Come from a Teardrop, 28.
5. Díaz-Cotto, Chicana Lives.
6. Thelen and Valdez, I Come from a Teardrop, 13. On the same page, Thelen and Valdez, in a footnote, stated the following: “When parents haven’t been able to pay the electricity bills, some of the youth . . . found ways to keep the lights on. Often this was their first brush with ‘crime.’”
7. Ibid., 40.
8. For an analysis of the contradictions of sex work in Black spaces of dispossession—work that provides relative economic autonomy for women yet tends to reinforce heteropatriarchal devaluing of women and absolution of men—see Kelley, Yo’ Mama’s Diskfunctional! 73–74: “One young Harlem woman, simply identified as ‘Margo,’ who turned to prostitution as early as fifteen, took pleasure in the fact that she could earn an average of $200 per customer for doing something she enjoyed—having sex. As the product of an abusive home and grinding poverty, Margo sold her body as a means of survival.”
9. See, for example, Díaz-Cotto, Chicana Lives; Harlow, Prior Abuse; Beck et al., Sexual Victimization.
10. Thelen and Valdez, I Come from a Teardrop, 18.
11. Richie, Arrested Justice, 42–43, 38.
12. Ibid., 43.
13. On controlling images and their impact on Black women, see Collins, Black Feminist Thought; on the criminalization of Black women, see Alexander, New Jim Crow; and specifically on the relation between violence, drugs, and women’s incarcerations, see Richie, “Exploring the Link,” 2.
14. Harlow, Prior Abuse, 1.
15. Ibid., 2.
16. Richie, Arrested Justice.
17. Alexander, New Jim Crow.
18. See, for example, Díaz-Cotto, Chicana Lives; Beck et al., Sexual Victimization.
19. Richie, Compelled to Crime, 163.
20. Díaz-Cotto, Chicana Lives.
21. Thelen and Valdez, I Come from a Teardrop, 48–49.
22. See, for example, Foucault, Birth of Biopolitics.
23. See Mbembe, “Necropolitics.”
24. Thelen and Valdez, I Come from a Teardrop, 31.
25. Ibid., 41.
26. Ibid., 46.
27. Patterson, Slavery and Social Death.
28. Thelen and Valdez, I Come from a Teardrop, 21.
29. For an analysis of Black hair and its various meanings as they relate to the gender- and race-specific historical variations of politics and beauty, see, for example, Rooks, Hair Raising.
30. Thelen and Valdez, I Come from a Teardrop, 29.
4. Reclaiming Public Space
1. This chapter revises and expands on previous work on these matters. See Vargas, “Black Disidentification.”
2. See, for example, photographs of the caras-pintadas during the 1992 impeachment campaign. In Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo, the crowd was unmistakably white. See Dutra, “O Movimento.”
3. See, for example, Paixão, Rossetto, and Carvano, Relatório.
4. See, for example, Ottoni, “Os Jovens”; and Vargas and Alves, “Geographies of Death.”
5. See O Argonauta, “Pesquisa Datafolha.” In another Datafolha survey published earlier, half of those interviewed mentioned corruption as the main reason for their participation, followed by 32 percent who protested bus fares, 27 percent against politicians, and 19 percent for public transportation improvements, among other concerns. The sum is greater than 100 percent because the people interviewed were allowed to choose more than one reason for their protest. See Cleber Toledo, “Datafolha Mostra.”
6. Pelli, “Protesters,” 33.
7. Paula, “Interactions.”
8. Saad-Filho and Morais, “Brazilian Spring,” 237.
9. See the march manifesto in Historianet, “Zumbi + 10.”
10. See SpressoSP, “Movimentos protestam.” On March 19, 2013, the Committee against Genocide occupied the state of São Paulo’s Public Security Secretariat (Secretaria de Segurança Pública). See UNEafro Brasil Oficial, “Comitê de Luta Contra o Genocídio de SP ocupa Secretaria de Segurança Pública.”
11. G1, “Marcha Internacional.”
12. See Waiselfisz, Mapa da Violência.
13. Alves, “From Necropolis to Blackpolis.”
14. Ibid., 11.
15. Wilderson, Red, White, and Black.
16. See, for example, Hartman, Scenes of Subjection; Holloway, Policing Rio de Janeiro; Human Rights Watch, Lethal Force, 31–40.
17. For a related analysis of the nonpolitical character of the Black subject engaging Wilderson’s formulations, see Harney and Moten’s The Undercommons, 20: “We aren’t responsible for politics. We are the general antagonism for politics. We are the general antagonism for politics looming outside every attempt to politicize, every imposition of self-governance, every sovereign decision and its degraded miniature, every emergent state and home sweet home. We are disruption and consent to disruption. We preserve upheaval. Sent to fulfill by abolishing, to renew by unsettling, to open the enclosure whose immeasurable venality is inversely proportionate to its actual area, we got politics surrounded. We cannot represent ourselves. We can’t be represented.” By stressing formal in “formal state representative,” i want to call attention to this: even though the state apparatus is indeed populated by state agents, the state far exceeds its formal, visible configuration, and operates just as forcefully, if not more efficiently, when actors who are not of the state machine enforce and reproduce protocols of the state. Here, of course, one can combine, in thought or action, any of the elements in the dichotomies outside–inside, for–against, beneficiary–exploited, and form dyads, such as outside–inside, that reflect more effectively the porous, plastic, disseminated, and permeable nature of what we call the state. For all its malleability and capacity to inhabit and get reproduced in capillary as well as ubiquitous and fluid realms of sociability, shared symbology, cognition, and self-making, the state, even by inaction, is quite consistent in producing historical patterns of inequality. In Ruth Gilmore’s definition of racism, this inequality between social groups, which i insist is in great measure derived from antiblackness, is perhaps best captured in the differentiated life chances and susceptibility to early death that the state imposes (and tolerates) and from which it benefits. See Gilmore, Golden Gulag.
18. Derrick Bell’s analysis of interest convergence, which we examined in the Introduction, shows how Black collective interests occasionally gain support only when and if there is substantial analogous or related interest on the part of Whites. Bell’s analysis thus reinforces the thesis of the Black collective subject’s inability to mobilize and engage the political field in their own terms. See Bell, “Racial Realism.”
19. Fonsêca, “You Cannot Not See.”
20. Alves, “From Necropolis to Blackpolis,” 14.
21. Wilderson, “Gramsci’s Black Marx,” 5.
22. See the photograph in Affonso, “Tropa de Choque.”
23. Fonsêca, “You Cannot Not See,” 24.
24. See the flyer for the March 19, 2013, event at the University of São Paulo against the genocide of Black youth. In it, a Black woman, whose figure emerges from favela houses, forcefully holds the hand of a white masked police officer who has a loaded weapon. The flyer called the government’s attention to “mass incarceration; hospital procedures when those wounded in confrontations with the police are checked in; compensation for the victims’ families; investigation into extermination groups and mass killings; a commission, formed by citizens and experts, to develop a proposal to diminish police lethality; access to homicide data and how they are produced; ‘Resistance Acts’ and how they are crafted; guaranteed safety for whistle blowers; autonomy for the Coroner’s Office [IML, Instituto Médico Legal]; independence and strengthening of the Public Ombudsperson [Ouvidoria Pública].” The Committee against the Genocide of Black Youth of São Paulo, organizer of the event, hailed the state (“poder público”) to explain the crimes committed by the police. See GTJuventudeNossaSaoPaulo, “Campanha Contra o Genocídio.”
25. For a comprehensive work on Brazilian Black women’s organizations, see Santos, “Brazilian Black Women’s NGOs.”
26. Even though over the years i have had numerous conversations with Xavier about this, what follows is my interpretation of her political philosophy. Xavier has not reviewed or endorsed my interpretation, and thus i take responsibility for it.
27. Araújo, Um Retrato do Brasil.
28. Neri, Desigualdade de Renda, 9, 14, 15.
29. Here we could distinguish between PT and Lula, given that, as has been pointed out by analysts (see, e.g., Oliveira, “Hegemonia”), Lula as a political phenomenon is historically tied to the party but is not contained by the party’s trajectory or tendencies—and vice versa. Indeed, while most of PT congressional representatives’ electorate wavers between the traditional and the new supporters (see, e.g., Hunter and Power, “Rewarding Lula”), Lula’s base leans markedly toward the historically marginalized social sectors and regions of the country.
30. All of this meant that, in a relatively poor country, where 66 percent of families averaging three people make at most R$ 2,034 per month (see, e.g., Canzian, “O Rolê do Brasil”), the party’s base of support were the traditionally leftist social segments, while the most impoverished classes tended to vote for parties and candidates more aligned with the right.
31. Singer, “A Segunda Alma,” 95.
32. Paixão, “Racial Inequalities.”
33. To affirm, even ironically, that “the lower classes now have a sense of entitlement, and possibly even worse, they fail to demonstrate the deference to which their taller, whiter, thinner and better dressed social superiors had become accustomed” (Saad-Filho, “Mass Protest,” 661–62) is of course speculation, itself not devoid of an unintended revelation of the author’s positionality. Yet the text points to a historical moment in which the government policy choices add to, rather than placate, the traditional middle classes’ anxieties.
34. Singer, “Raízes Sociais,” 85.
35. Ibid., 86.
36. Ibid., 93.
37. Oliveira, “Hegemonia.”
38. Saad-Filho and Morais, “Mass Protest,” 229.
39. Nitahara, “Representação.”
40. As it is stated on Criola’s website, “CRIOLA considers articulations (and actions that result from them) as fundamental and inherent part of its political work. We are part of different democratic participation organisms: The District Health Council (Conselho Distrital de Saúde) of downtown Rio de Janeiro, the National Council for the Promotion of Racial Equality (Conselho Nacional de Promoção da Igualdade Racial), of the Special Secretariat of Racial Equality Policy (Secretaria Especial de Políticas para a Igualdade Racial (SEPPIR), as well as different organisms that negotiate and monitor policy concerning youths, human rights, HIV and AIDS, among others.” Criola, “Atuação.”
41. Bell, “Serving Two Masters.”
42. Criola, “Atuação.”
43. Singer, “A Segunda Alma,” 100.
44. This strategic withdrawal does not mean that more traditional civil society approaches are excluded from Criola’s menu of operations. Over the years, Criola has launched or participated in a series of public campaigns aimed at increasing awareness of race and gender discrimination. Recently, it spearheaded the initiative “Virtual Racism, Real Consequences.” By targeting forms of everyday antiblack gendered prejudice, Criola reaffirms its longtime commitment to change the national conversation and policy on key current problems. Yet this and similar initiatives, devoid of mass mobilization sustaining them, draw from a model of social intervention that depends on resources, ideas, and forms of implementation that in significant ways reproduce the model of state intervention, if not in its scale, at least in its top-down approach. It also suggests that antiblackness can be addressed, redressed, and overcome. This last topic will be revisited in chapter 7.
45. Santiago, Tomaz, and Machado, “Rolezinhos.”
46. On antiblack segregation in São Paulo see, for example, Vargas and Alves, “Geographies of Death.”
47. See Folha 10, “Bonde do Rolê,” in which a police officer, in a photograph by Bruno Poletti, is seen threatening with a baton four young Black men who have been detained.
48. Lipsitz, Possessive Investment in Whiteness.
49. Barbara, “Whose Mall Is It?”
50. For example, 18 percent of younger interviewees, between sixteen and twenty-four years of age, were in favor of the rolezinhos, while among those sixty and older, only 6 percent did so. Moreover, the greater the income, the higher the levels of support for rolezinhos: while among those who earned between two and five minimum salaries 10 percent supported the gatherings, among those who earned more than ten minimum salaries 16 percent were in favor of rolezinhos.
51. Leite, “82% dos Paulistanos São Contra.”
52. An online comment in response to Romero, “Brazil’s Latest Clash.”
53. See, for example, Holloway, Policing Rio de Janeiro; and Browne, Dark Matters.
54. Vargas, “Apartheid Brasileiro”; Vargas, Never Meant to Survive.
55. Dunbar, “Highland Mall Hysteria.”
56. G1, “Conheça a história dos ‘rolezinhos.’”
57. In Jabor’s useful formulation about an analogous area of privilege in Rio de Janeiro that now experiences an unprecedented presence of newly economically empowered Black people, “Brazil did not become Ipanema, Ipanema became Brazil.” See Jabor, “Nunca Mais Voltará.”
58. Rebolla, “As Imagens.” See also Rio Gringa, “Rolezinho no Shopping.”
59. O Globo, “Nos Anos 90.”
60. Diário de S.Paulo, “‘Rolezinho’ causa pânico no Shopping Itaquera.”
61. Bartlet, Copacabana, cited in Carta Capital, “Desiguladades.”
62. Cardoso, Marinho, and Torres, “Orla do Rio.”
63. Paixão, Rossetto, and Carvano. Relatório; Santos, “Brazilian Black Women’s NGOs”; Alves, “From Necropolis to Blackpolis”; Rocha, “Outraged Mothering”; Waiselfizs, Mapa da Violência.
64. Autran, “Pichação.”
65. Berta and Bottari, “Jovem.”
66. Folha de S.Paulo, “Vídeo Registra Assassinato.”
67. On the need by nonblacks, especially Whites, to enforce boundaries of geographical belonging, see Bottari, “Jovens Detidos.” This article focuses on a group of middle-class White youths, residents of the Flamengo neighborhood, who decided to take matters onto their own hands. They patrol the streets at night, searching for, in their words, “moleques,” yet another variation of “pivete,” who allegedly rob locals. Taken to the police station to explain what they were doing, one of the youths, frustrated that he had been accused by one of the “moleques” to be a “playboy” who wanted to harm him, stated the following: “Those kids are not homeless kids, they are moleques who come to our neighborhood to commit robberies. I think violence is something scary, as is the fact that other youths—it wasn’t us—had one of the moleques tied by the neck. But this shows how dire the situation is. Can’t anyone see that the kid probably deserved what he got? Here you do, here you pay. In our case, we weren’t after the kids because they were Black or poor. We were there to get the robber.”
68. Maia, “Eu Já Sentia Preconceito Antes.” The article includes a link to the video recording of the interview.
70. Wilderson, Red, White, and Black.
71. Maia, “Eu Já Sentia Preconceito Antes.”
72. These trends have of course slowed down. As of February 2016, the Brazilian economy is retracting, and unsurprisingly the Black and the impoverished are the most affected. The government’s cuts in education, health, and infrastructure, for example, according to Educafro’s director, Frei Davi Santos, disproportionately affect negatively the Afro-descendants. See Midiamax, “Pobres e Negros.”
73. Maia, “Eu Já Sentia Preconceito Antes.”
74. Folha de S.Paulo, “Rolezinho Protesto.”
5. The Pacifying Police
1. Ramalho, “Major Reafirma.”
2. G1, “PMs Dizem.”
3. Ramalho and Bottari, “Inquérito.” See also a detailed illustration of the crime scene and how each UPP officer was involved, O Globo, “Infográfico.”
4. The “decreto-lei” (law decree) 41.650, established on January 21, 2009, created the UPP for the “execution of special actions relative to the pacification and maintenance of public order in disadvantaged communities.” See Diário Oficial do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, “Poder Executivo.”
5. See maps of UPPs in Rio. G1, “Rio ganha.”
6. O Globo, “Após Bope.”
7. Costa et al., “Polícia Invade.”
8. O Globo, “Pesquisa Mostra.”
9. For an analysis of the religious, political, racial, and class alliances that are pertinent to the current Rio political context, see Amar, Security Archipelago, especially chap. 4.
10. See for example, Record’s coverage of the Complexo do Alemão at ReportAlexDiaz, “Record acompanha.” To prove how graspable and consolidated the new moment was, reporters ventured for the first time into gang territories. Remarking on how narrow the streets were, and how foreign it all seemed at Alemão after the 2010 takeover, a reporter for Record shows the house of one of the main drug traffickers and describes the favela as “tight, strange, foreign.” Even though local residents say how terrorized they were during the operations, the reporter does not pay attention to them.
11. Borges, Ribeiro, and Cano, “Os Donos Do Morro”; and Stahlberg, “Pacification of Favelas.” Stahlberg uses ISP data to state that “violent fatalities, car theft and street theft . . . have decreased significantly from 2010 to 2011” (24).
12. The thirteen communities are the following: Andaraí, Batam, Borel, Chapéu-Mangueira/Babilônia, Cidade de Deus, Dona Marta, Formiga, Macacos, Pavão-Pavãozinho/Cantagalo, Providência, Salgueiro, Tabajaras, and Turano.
13. See Leandro, “Auto de Resistência”; and Misse, “Autos de Resistência.” Elsewhere i have analyzed these patterns and how they relate to Rio’s antiblack racialized geography. See Vargas, “Taking Back the Land.”
14. Borges, Ribeiro, and Cano, “Os Donos do Morro,” 32–33.
15. Ibid., 38. This argument is made via graphs showing the evolution of violent deaths for the city of Rio and for UPP communities. The graphs are successful in suggesting the cumulative effects of UPPs over time, and how pacified communities present trends that parallel yet intensify the city’s falling rates of violent deaths between 2006 and 2011.
16. Zaluar, Cidadãos; and Soares, Criminalidade, among others, have linked drug dealing with the performance of masculinity.
17. See Vargas, “When a Favela Dared.”
18. Work in Jacarezinho demanded frequent consultations with the local drug bosses, the most prominent of which we had to often visit in a prison located more than three hours away from Rio by train.
19. On police corruption that made national and international news, see, for example, Vargas, “Hyperconsciousness.”
20. For Benedita da Silva’s biography, see Mendonça and Benjamin, Benedita.
21. See studies showing drug dealers’ organic ties to the communities, for example, Alves, “From Necropolis to Blackpolis”; and Vargas, “Inner City and the Favela.”
22. This mirrors a trend common to other favelas in Rio, as reported in Romero, “Now Taking World Cup Bookings.”
23. O Globo, “Brasil Registra Segunda Maior Alta.”
24. Borges, Ribeiro, and Cano, “Os Donos Do Morro,” 49.
25. The difficulty Blacks in the United States have in passing wealth and occupational status from one generation to the next is well documented in Oliver and Shapiro, Black Wealth / White Wealth. Given the transnational antiblackness that defines the diaspora, it would be surprising to find patterns any less intense in Brazil. Oliveira, in “O Caso do Estado,” shows how Black families, unlike nonblack and White families, occupy less valuable areas in favelas. These same Black families tend to stay longer in favelas than do nonblack families. Oliveira’s study suggests that in Brazil Blacks are not able to accumulate wealth in the form of homeownership. Pólvora, in “Black Communities,” a study conducted in an impoverished area in Porto Alegre, found analogous patterns of Black accumulated disadvantages across generations.
26. Paixão, Rossetto, and Carvano, Relatório.
27. Borges, Ribeiro, and Cano, “Os Donos Do Morro,” 21–23. Among those, Chapéu Mangueira has the highest ratio of police officers per thousand inhabitants, at 88.2, while Cidade de Deus has 9.1.
28. See Gilmore, Golden Gulag; Wilderson, Red, White, and Black; and Vargas, Never Meant to Survive.
29. See, for example, Paixão, Rossetto, and Carvano, Relatório; and Waiselfizs, Mapa da Violência.
30. See, for example, recent ethnographies of Black communities in Rio de Janeiro by Sluis, “Opening”; Soares, “Akoben”; and Rocha, “Outraged Motherhood.”
31. Borges, Ribeiro, and Cano, “Os Donos Do Morro.” All quoted statements are my translations.
32. Ibid., 120.
33. Ibid., 137.
34. See Soares et al., “O Que Pensam os Policiais,” 37.
35. Ibid., 37–38.
36. Borges, Ribeiro, and Cano, “Os Donos Do Morro,” 140.
37. Ibid., 140–42.
38. Ibid., 162.
39. On favelas as Black spaces, see, for example, Oliveira, “O Caso do Estado”; Perry, Black Women against the Land Grab; and Vargas, “Taking Back the Land.”
40. Folha de S.Paulo, “Cabral Apóia Aborto.”
41. Pagnan, “Metade do País.”
43. See, for example, the video by Zein, Cury, and Gasparian, “Papa, Cadê o Amarildo?” Starting in 2015, more negative evaluation of the UPPs began to finally surface among recognized White Brazilian academics and policy makers. See, for example, Racy’s interview with former national secretary of security Luiz Eduardo Soares in “A Solução.” Soares states that UPPs are in ruins and that they represent “a failed project” because “the police remain the same and the results are predictable.” My translation.
44. See, for example, Zein, Cury, and Gasparian, “Papa, Cadê o Amarildo?”
45. TV Brasil, “Protesto em Copacabana.”
46. Jornal a Nova Democracia, “Protesto na Rocinha.”
47. Nitahara, “Jovens Voltam a Ocupar.”
48. Uns Produções, “Somos Todos Amarildo.” My translation.
51. See, for example, Paixão, Rossetto, and Carvano, Relatório; Alves, “From Necropolis to Blackpolis”; Human Rights Watch, Lethal Force; and Waiselfizs, Mapa da Violência.
52. See, for example, Oliveira, “O Caso do Estado”; Pólvora, “Black Communities”; Santos, “Brazilian Black Women’s NGOs”; Perry, Black Women against the Land Grab; and Rocha, “Outraged Mothering.”
53. On January 31, 2015, it was reported that thirteen of the twenty-five police officers accused of involvement in the disappearance and death of Amarildo de Souza were condemned to prison sentences of up to thirteen years and seven months. Daniela Alvarez Prado was the presiding judge. At least eight of these officers were condemned for the crime of torture followed by death, disappearance of the cadaver, and fraud. See O Globo, “Justiça Condena.” The condemnation, while lauded by human rights activists, is a surprising exception to the pattern of assassinations of Blacks by the police that go unpunished in Brazil and the United States.
6. Michael Zinzun
1. Republic of New Afrika pamphlet, n.d., Coalition Against Police Abuse Collection, Southern California Library.
2. See Vargas, Catching Hell.
3. See, for example, Churchill and Vander Wall, Agents of Repression.
4. Marriott, On Black Men.
5. The split i am suggesting between the magical and the engineer modes of thought is not to be taken in absolute terms, as the magical modality involves a planned projection of the future (as the engineer proclaims) and the engineer modality, insofar as it requires the imagination of the not-yet-realized (as is the terrain of the magical), is necessarily immersed in metaphysical considerations. I am of course obliquely referencing a discussion in Lévi-Strauss, Savage Mind.
6. Edwards, Charisma, 23.
7. Haraway, “Cyborg Manifesto,” 149–50, 176.
8. For a historiography focusing on the ways in which Ella Baker challenged this pattern of charismatic Black male leadership, see Ransby, Ella Baker.
9. Vargas and James, “Refusing Blackness-as-Victimization,” 198.
10. See, for example, Marshall, City on the Hill, 225.
11. As i expand on the gendered universe of the cyborg, my intent is both to critique Baldwin’s and Zinzun’s phallocentrism and to take the discussion of the cyborg beyond such limitations. As in Haraway’s cyborg, the Black charismatic cyborg disrupts racialized dichotomies and barriers, yet he reinscribes normalized understandings of heteropatriarchy and black suffering, both of which disavow a frontal coming to terms with foundational and structural antiblackness.
12. Baldwin, “My Dungeon Shook,” 294.
13. “Well, the black man has functioned in the white man’s world as a fixed star, as an immovable pillar: and as he moves out of his place, heaven and earth are shaken to their foundations.” Ibid., 294.
14. Baldwin’s political thought is of course dynamic, unstable. In his later essays, such as “The Price of the Ticket,” published in 1985, in the midst of the devastating Reagan–Thatcher years, Baldwin apparently gave up on the Black cyborg–engendered redemptive project, and instead trained his critical attention on the antiblack heteronormative state. Following his analysis of the murder drive animating the mob, intent on destroying “a nigger, a kike, a dyke, or a faggot” (840), Baldwin goes on to affirm the following: “But these ideas do not come from the mob. They come from the state, which creates and manipulates the mob. The idea of black persons as property, for example, does not come from the mob” (841).
15. Baldwin, “Autobiographical Notes,” 9.
16. Baldwin, “My Dungeon Shook,” 293–94.
17. Contemporary events suggest the longevity and force of the Black cyborg’s orientation, one that intersects with Christian religious practices. For example, following the June 17, 2015, shooting death of six women and three men, all Black, at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a White supremacist, the victims’ relatives conveyed public messages of forgiveness to the assailant. The hatred toward Blacks that the cyborg attempts to turn into love is not restricted to these extreme forms. In Baldwin, as in Zinzun’s political philosophy, antiblack hatred is a culturally ubiquitous datum rather than an isolated event. The hater of the Black, therefore, is the dominant culture’s ordinary performer.
18. Erickson, “Law.”
19. See Rainey, “Political Activist”; and Vargas Catching Hell.
20. Chang, “Activist Ends”; Vargas, Catching Hell; Vargas, Never Meant to Survive.
21. Marriott, On Black Men, xiv.
22. Erickson, “Law.”
23. See, for example, Churchill and Vander Wall, Agents of Repression.
24. Vargas, Catching Hell.
25. Erickson, “Law.”
26. Churchill and Vander Wall, Agents of Repression.
27. Erickson, “Law.”
28. FBI memorandum titled “Michael Zinzun, Extremist Matters, Black Panther Party,” Coalition Against Police Abuse Collection, Southern California Library.
29. For example, on September 23, 1977, in a letter addressed to Michael Zinzun and Anthony Thigpenn at the CAPA office, when it was on 4107 South Main Street, Los Angeles, the director of administrative program staff at the Office of Management and Finance of the United States Department of Justice stated, via a standardized cover letter, that “your request under the Freedom of Information/Privacy Act(s) has been received.” On December 2, 1977, Gene F. Wilson, information and privacy coordinator for the Central Intelligence Agency, in a letter addressed to Zinzun and Thigpenn at CAPA, affirmed the following: “In compliance with your request and pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act and regulations promulgated thereunder, we have searched those Agency systems that might contain information regarding the Coalition Against Police Abuse (C.A.P.A.) and find that we were unable to find any relevant information or record that pertains to your organization.” All materials available in the Coalition Against Police Abuse Collection, Box 10, Southern California Library.
30. Hill, “Michael Zinzun”; Switalla, “Marked Man.”
31. Michael Zinzun Defense Committee, “Free Speech,” Coalition Against Police Abuse Collection, Southern California Library.
32. Duren, “Police and Courts.”
33. Harpe, “Zinzun.”
34. Erickson, “Law.”
35. Braidhill, “Judges Won’t Hear Zinzun Case.”
36. Vargas, Never Meant to Survive.
37. Michael Zinzun Defense Committee, “Free Speech.”
38. Duren, “Police and Courts.”
39. Braidhill, “Judges Won’t Hear Zinzun Case.”
40. Erickson, “Law.”
41. Duren, “Police and Courts.”
42. Michael Zinzun Defense Committee, “Free Speech.”
43. Duren, “Police and Courts.”
44. Michael Zinzun Defense Committee, “Free Speech.”
45. Dunn, “Police Injury Suit.”
47. Lucas, “Pasadena’s Michael Zinzun.”
48. Rainey, “Political Activist.”
49. See Vargas, Catching Hell; Vargas, Never Meant to Survive; and Wielenga “Day of Celebration.” See also the 1995 correspondence between Zinzun and Carlos Verissimo, Los Angeles representative of the Instituto de Pesquisas das Culturas Negras, one of the organizers of the event on the diaspora in Rio. Coalition Against Police Abuse Collection, Box 90, Southern California Library.
50. Los Angeles Sentinel, “For Excellence.”
51. Dunn, “Police Injury Suit.”
7. Black Suffering as Catalyst
1. Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? 37. The most incisive studies on prisons reflect on slavery as the ideological matrix informing contemporary prison regimes. Dylan Rodriguez, for example, states that “the technology of the prison regime—and the varieties of violence it wages against those it holds captive—is premised on a particular White-supremacist module or prototype that is in fact rooted in the history of slavery and the social and racial crisis it has forwarded into the present” (“Forced Passages,” 41).
2. On nonblack, especially White, participation in protests qua belonging in the nation, see Alves and Vargas, “On Deaf Ears.”
3. Because it springs from relatively progressive political camps, this multiracial consensus is different from the multiracialism Jared Sexton analyzed in Amalgamation Schemes. Multiracialism announces the end of racial classification, racial pride, and the one-drop rule, among others, as precondition for a postracial society. The multiracial consensus of which Zinzun and other Black cyborgs were central, on the contrary, builds from and celebrates racial pride. It is this racial pride—such as Baldwin’s exhortations of Black people’s unusual strength and unassailable dignity—that generates the multiracial bloc. Yet, quite ironically, the resulting multiracial bloc seems paradigmatically unable or unwilling to engage frontally the facts and the deeply transformative political imperatives of antiblackness. In this limitation, the cyborg’s multiracial bloc intersects with multiracialism in their common disavowal of antiblackness.
4. See, for example, Lott, Love and Theft; and Hartman, Scenes of Subjection.
5. As Sexton remarked, “The call for paradigm shift has become the hallmark of the post–civil rights era, in which the initiatives of multiracial coalition politics, immigration rights, liberal multiculturalism, and conservative colorblindness operate uneasily—and often unwittingly—within a broad-based strategic integration” (“People-of-Color-Blindness,” 43).
6. Bonilla-Silva, “We Are All Americans!” 4.
7. Ibid., 13.
8. On the dawn of the Brazilian (multi)racial democracy hegemony, and its relationship to a global racial formation, see, for example, Winant, World Is a Ghetto.
9. University of Texas, “Capitalism and The New Jim Crow.” I thank Connor Healy for this reference, used in his undergraduate honors thesis, which at the time of this writing was in draft form. See Healy, “Kill the Boer,” 48.
10. In this way, George Yancy’s recent open letter, “Dear White America,” which asks Whites to recognize their own racism, is an example of the adoption of the people-of-color framework (because it focuses on an undistinguished “racism” that affects Blacks and “people of color”), and the incarnation of the Black cyborg as it makes a loving, didactic, and urgent appeal to Whites. In its effort to repair misrecognition and hatred, the letter concludes by asking Whites to love Blacks back, and to imagine that their White children are Black.
11. Hamilton and Ture, Black Power.
12. About a decade after the first publication of Black Power, “The Combahee River Collective Statement” emerged as a synthesis of progressive Black feminism. It stated, “Although we are feminists and Lesbians, we feel solidarity with progressive Black men and do not advocate the fractionalization that White women who are separatists demand. Our situation as Black people necessitates that we have solidarity around the fact of race, which White women of course do not need to have with White men, unless it is their negative solidarity as racial oppressors. We struggle together with Black men against racism, while we also struggle with Black men about sexism. . . . We realize that the liberation of all oppressed peoples necessitates the destruction of the political–economic systems of capitalism and imperialism as well as patriarchy. We are socialists because we believe that work must be organized for the collective benefit of those who do the work and create the products, and not for the profit of the bosses. Material resources must be equally distributed among those who create these resources. We are not convinced, however, that a socialist revolution that is not also a feminist and anti-racist revolution will guarantee our liberation” (Combahee River Collective, “Combahee River Collective Statement”). On a typology of Black feminisms drawn according to the ways in which each strand conceptualizes the sources of oppression, and whether the state should be reformed or destroyed, see James, Shadowboxing. On a critical analysis of U.S. empire that is attentive to blackness, sexuality, and spirituality, see Alexander, Pedagogies of Crossing.
13. For example, among Zinzun’s papers were publications such as the Winter 1997 Indigenous Environmental Network News; articles from the 1989 special issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association on “The Health of Black Americans,” which included data and analyses on cardiovascular diseases, AIDS cases, death rates due to injury, and homicide among young Black males, all of which drew comparisons between different racial groups; and “Oppose U.S. Intervention in Mexico, Support the Zapatista Army” flyers and informational materials. Coalition Against Police Abuse Collection, Southern California Library.
14. Similarly, George Lipsitz in his critical writings and political engagement, including his dialogues and collaborations with Zinzun, exemplifies the awareness that antiblack social phenomena affect everyone, and thus need to be fully engaged by everyone, irrespective of one’s racial background. See Lipsitz, Life in the Struggle and Possessive Investment in Whiteness.
15. Churchill, Little Matter of Genocide; Vargas, Never Meant to Survive; Rodriguez, “Inhabiting the Impasse.”
16. Police operations intensified in the weeks before the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. “In the first weeks of April 2016, at least 11 people were killed and others were injured during police operations . . . in the City of Rio de Janeiro and its surrounding neighborhoods. Residents of several favelas experienced hours of intense shootings. On 2 April, a five-year-old boy was killed in a military police operation in Magé, a municipality in the metropolitan region of Rio, and two other persons were injured. On 4 April, five people were killed in the favela of Acari during a joint operation of the federal and civil police. On the same day, a young man was killed in the favela of Manguinhos during a different military police operation. On 7 April, at least two people were killed in Jacarezinho, also during a military police operation. Between 16 and 17 April, a major military police operation in Complexo do Alemão resulted in two people being killed and nine others being injured; residents witnessed 36 hours of intense shootings. Between 5 and 6 May, six people including a police officer were killed during a military police operation in Providência. On 7 and 8 May, major police operations took place in Manguinhos, Alemão, Rocha Miranda and Acari. Initial reports indicate that in Manguinhos, one person was killed and three others were injured on 8 May. On the same day, in the favela Jorge Turco in Coelho Neto, two people were reported to be killed during an intensive shooting between the police and criminal gang members. In Complexo do Alemão, at least three people were injured and one woman was killed during a police operation on 7 May.” Predictably, the overwhelming majority of those killed were young Black men. Amnesty International, Violence Has No Place in These Games! 17.
17. Aveiro, “Cláudia e Amarildo.”
20. Edwards, Charisma, 144.
21. Coalition Against Police Abuse Collection, Box 53, Southern California Library.
22. Strausberg, “Worrill Says CIA Drug Plot ‘Genocide.’”
23. On the hegemonic and potentially transformative uses of the concept of genocide, see Rodriguez, “Inhabiting the Impasse.” See also Vargas and James, “Refusing Blackness-as-Victimization”; and Wilderson, Red, White, and Black.
24. Out of about twenty participants in a planning meeting, including Zinzun, there were three Latin@s, among them one woman. Coalition Against Police Abuse Collection, Box 85, Southern California Library.
25. The reference to civil society as a “state of war” comes from, among others, Fanon, Wretched of the Earth; and James, Resisting State Violence.
26. Vargas, “Gendered Antiblackness.”
27. Dawson, “Black Counterpublic?”
28. Wilderson, Red, White, and Black.
1. Murray, “Panthers’ Fight,” 14, cited in Bloom and Martin, Black against Empire, 275–76.
2. Quoted in Bloom and Martin, Black against Empire, 277.
3. In Black Power, on the other hand, Ture and Hamilton stress the need for Black autonomous organizing as a precondition for entering into multiracial alliances. I say this to stress the particularity of the cyborg’s version of Black power that subordinates a focus on antiblackness to the consolidation of the transnational multiracial front.
4. Bloom and Martin, Black against Empire, 276.
5. See, for example, Wilderson, Incognegro; Churchill and Vander Wall, Agents of Repression; Ture and Hamilton, Black Power; Nascimento, Brazil, Mixture or Massacre? Alves and Vargas, “On Deaf Ears”; Healy, “Kill the Boer.”
6. Shakur, Assata, 192.
7. “Black folks with money have always tended to support candidates who they believed would protect their financial interests. As far as i was concerned, it didn’t take too much brains to figure out that Black people are oppressed because of class as well as race, because we are poor and because we are Black” (ibid., 190).
8. Shakur, “Open Letter.”
9. Shakur, “To My People.”
10. James, “Introduction,” xxiv.
11. On how Blacks have mostly become obsolete in the U.S. economy since the 1980s, see Marable, How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America.
12. Wilderson, Red, White, and Black. Safiya Bukhari, a contemporary of Shakur, speaks of the process of becoming a slave as part of her radicalization: “My mother had successfully kept me ignorant of the plight of Black people in America. Now I had learned it for myself, but I was still to learn the harsher lesson: the plight of the slave who dares to rebel” (War Before, 5).
13. Robinson, Black Marxism, 169.
14. Ibid., my emphasis.
15. Shakur, Assata, 59–60, my emphasis.
16. Fanon, Wretched of the Earth.
17. Shakur, “To My People.”
18. Bloom and Martin, Black against Empire, 374.
19. Jackson, Blood in My Eye, 7.
21. Ibid., 9–10.
22. Gordon, Bad Faith, 155. Likewise, the invitation to the dance of death is not symmetrical: it is an invitation to enter the world of antiblackness, hailing the Black and nonblack who insist on negating antiblackness to leave the world of the empire-state and enter an unknown world of impossibilities.
23. Womack, Afrofuturism, 9.
24. See James, Black Jacobins.
25. I thank Andréia Santos, Hamilton Borges, Vitor, and Fred Aganju for their generous introduction to the work of Reaja in Salvador and Cachoeira, state of Bahia, in March 2016. See various articles in the Reaja ou Será Morta / Reaja ou Será Morto newspaper Assata Shakur, wherein Santos, Borges, Aganju, and other Reaja activists describe their collective efforts toward Black autonomy. For a “general theory of failure,” see Aganju, “Balanço Estratégico.”