Using the year 2015 to frame and contextualize the discussion, this article asks why white backlash is an expected reaction to black resistance. In short, white backlash is built into the liberal construction of race. Utilizing Joel Olson’s conception of Herrenvolk democracy, this article analyzes how the color-blind norm of race moves race into a sphere of discourse where it is omnipresent but also disempowered for any legal remedy. Policing becomes an institution by which race is made apparent, as the inequitable treatment by the police dictates who is protected by the color line. Drawn from polling surveys and government reports, data is provided with regard to the unchanging perceptions of racial attitudes. Black Lives Matter takes up the Black radical tradition in order to reassert Black humanity in the face of a system that normalizes racial violence, racial terror, and its own racial ignorance. In this way BLM displays the counternarrative to white hegemony. This counternarrative forces us to realize the depth of the race problem by mobilizing a language of abolition. Circling back to Olson’s abolition democracy, this article concludes by looking at how far we must go in terms of applying abolition to our discourse, language, conception of humanity, and democracy.
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Research Article| April 13 2020
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Chaz Briscoe; The White Response to Black Lives Matter and Mike Brown. National Review of Black Politics 13 April 2020; 1 (2): 311–323. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nrbp.2020.1.2.311
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