Weekend Reading

You get one less hour of reading this weekend.

The entire courtroom is a spectacle of state power. Black body after black body. Latino immigrant in need of a translator after Latino immigrant in need of a translator. A sprinkle of white men in business suits… In the courtroom: [the judge] is god. “Law and order” is the de jure theology and white supremacy the de facto religion. For true democracy to flourish we must become atheists of The State. “If it brings me to my knees,” singer Frank Ocean declares, “it’s a bad religion.” This exceptional country brought Michael Brown to his knees, before bringing his lifeless body to lie in a pool of his own blood. Ferguson is no anomaly. Every 28 hours in America a black person is killed by police, a security guard, or vigilante.

Only partially accessible and visible, the San Francisco police memorial offers a model of remembrance that conveys police grief as part and parcel of a carceral logic: dangerously paranoid, bunkered off from public access, and perpetuating policing itself. The power of the police is here separated, territorialized, defensive, and defended. The architectural formation presents a forbidden shrine—a separation Bryan and I seemed to have pierced without invitation. Police grief here is falsely rendered as something socio-communal—as if the dead were one of us—and yet that space for remembering is not “ours” at all.


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