Recent mobilizations against police terror in cities across the United States can be described as expected and unexpected. They are expected by those conscious of the genealogy of racial/colonial violence. In this sense, radical resistance is always already logical. Those same movements can be perceived as rather unexpected considering recent pessimistic assessments of black politics within the current neoliberal (or postcolonial) conjuncture. Scholars writing about the appropriation of black politics following the civil rights and Black Power struggles, for example, have been careful of how belated inclusion and the hypervisibility of black success stories are components of a discursive maneuver, an effort to help quarantine or deter a more critical dissent within black and other communities of color via rhetorics of reform and progress. Thus the advent of an insurgent critical dissent in cities across the United States and beyond (London and Paris, for example) represents a moment to reassess these critiques and to map out how recent expressions of “black rage” fit within what has been popularly referred to as a black radical tradition.

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