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Using James Baldwin’s nonfiction as muse and framing device, this essay examines the language and practice of identification in contemporary social redress efforts. It argues that the use of slogans such as “Todos Somos Arizona” and “I am Troy Davis” do violence to people of color and black bodies in particular, as such language relies on the negation of particular histories and struggles for recognition, community, and safety. The essay destabilizes the enticing and readily available language of parity and suggests alternative histories and methods for political solidarity.

This essay examines the significance of the black radical tradition within the context of postcolonial geopolitics, dynamics most commonly associated with neoliberal late global and racial capitalism that have resulted in significant demographic shifts and also increased collisions between local histories and global conditions of violent dispossession. Using this local-global conjuncture, this essay peruses how a black radical tradition of critique in the U.S. South has been mobilized as a pillar from or through which Latina/o lives matter more in that region’s political climate and discourse regarding race and racism.

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