ICYMI: Black lives matter, But to whom? Why We Need a Politics of Exile in a Time of Troubling Stuckness (Part I)

From Democracy and Belonging Forum: "Four days away from the Christmas of 1848, in the dark and occult hours before morning wakes, Ellen and William Craft beheld each other through tearful eyes for the last time. Minutes later, they collapsed to the floor, both falling into a writhing heap of limbs and agony, convulsing, trembling, and flailing until the strong brew they had ingested hours earlier passed through them. When the sun yawned awake to the sounds of the cock crow, his surveillant gaze travelled across the undulating fields of Georgia, across the cottonfields of one plantation in Macon, and fell through the cracks of the cabin where two lovers had spent their last human moments, and where a few obsidian-black feathers belonging to two fugitive crows now littered the log floor – tell-tale signs of a daring escape, a transformation too offensive for history to embrace."

"Something about Black exile, about Black refusal, gestures at a generosity stranger than ‘truth’ can accommodate; it gestures at how things spill away from neat lines and steady identities; it gestures at the drunken, creolized promiscuity of ‘reality itself’. Black exile distrusts straight lines and loves zigzagging cartographies, meandering stories that do not care much for some Cartesian notion of a fixed truth. Black exile loves death and ghosts, moonlit dalliances, subterranean experiments, hybrid bodies, bacchanal aesthetics, perverse mixtures and spillages, monsters with phallic horns sprouting from their heads, grandmother concoctions, and stories of a promiscuous ‘world’ that won’t stay still long enough for us to paint its portrait. For Black exile, facts vibrate at the speed of mystery."

"Voices are presumably discrete things, located firmly within the agential control of human subjects. Something that cannot be taken from us, synonymous with free will even. But such a view of voice, as an object of a stable human organism, displaces the roles the world around us and strange worlds within play in shaping speakability. Voices are not solely the products of individual or collective vocal folds: without oxygen, without the efforts of microbial communities that inhabit vocal fold mucosa, without a milieu that grants language such power – often investing it with a nobility denied others who cannot speak, without a politics that gives currency to speaking, without the mutuality of a (perceived) listening apparatus, speaking would be invisible. It would be no matter at all."

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