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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.

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