This essay probes the project of security (defined as the protection of whiteness, class hierarchy, and heteropatriarchy) in relation to the desire for safety (glossed as “having somebody”). In probing this relation within a context in which police violence and extrajudicial killing are not typically seen as part of the global phenomenon of anti-Black racism, it seeks to contribute to a conversation in which raciality is not tethered to physicality, but instead is grounded in both historical-ideological and onto-epistemological phenomena that produce whiteness as the apex of humanity in the modern West. The essay explores the relation between security and safety through the rubric of diaspora in two senses—first as a phenomenon of Western modernity via plantation-based New World slavery, which catalyzed the development of enduring categories of (non)personhood and their elaboration into hierarchies of humanity; and second as a phenomenon of migration and the constitution of transnational sociocultural spheres. Diaspora, thus, generates forms of pan-Africanism and Black consciousness as much as it produces agendas related to transnational governance and global security infrastructures. The essay argues that to more complexly understand security from the South, these two notions of diaspora must be held in productive tension. In this way, security is revealed as a racializing project grounded in coloniality, even within majority Black spaces. The essay concludes by illuminating other terrains on which to build accountability and safety.

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