After failing to indict officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron explained, “My job as the special prosecutor was to put emotion aside and investigate facts.” The positivist values emphasized by Cameron (i.e., objectivity, validity, thoroughness, and truth) have consistently been referenced as the gold standard of research and been used to justify White supremacy and deny Black humanity. In this article, I use Unapologetic Black Inquiry (UBI) to analyze Cameron’s remarks. UBI values Black defiance and dissident knowledge to center Black humanity and liberation, and provokes questions such as: Who produced knowledge and narratives in the Breonna Taylor case? What was their purpose in creating this knowledge? What are the assumptions about Blackness embedded in this narrative? In answering these questions, I challenge the presumed superiority of objectivity, validity, thoroughness, and truth in knowledge production, discuss how these values deny Black humanity, and explore the liminal space and dis/comfort Black women may experience when their humanity is denied.
Breonna’s Song: An Unapologetic Black Response to State Violence Against Black Women
Jelisa S. Clark, PhD, earned her doctorate in Applied Sociology from the University of Louisville and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Fayetteville State University. Her research and teaching are focused on the intersection of race and gender in education. She is a co-author of Empowering Men of Color on Campus: Building Student Community in Higher Education, which examines how Men of Color negotiate college through their participation in a male success program.
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Jelisa S. Clark; Breonna’s Song: An Unapologetic Black Response to State Violence Against Black Women. Departures in Critical Qualitative Research 1 September 2022; 11 (3): 57–76. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/dcqr.2022.11.3.57
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