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Black Lives and Spatial MattersPolicing Blackness and Practicing Freedom in Suburban St. Louis$
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Jodi Rios

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501750465

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501750465.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Cornell University Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.cornell.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Cornell University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in Cornell for personal use. date: 21 September 2021

Queering Protest

Queering Protest

(p.165) 6 Queering Protest
Black Lives and Spatial Matters

Jodi Rios

Cornell University Press

This chapter uses a framework of queer theory to argue that the particular aesthetic and affect of resistance in North St. Louis County made visible the extreme violence of the state in addition to exposing the inherent contradictions within masculine and heteronormative spaces of Black struggle. This is a critical component of queer of color critique. Similar to an Afro-pessimistic perspective of blackness, which locates Black life as a site of ontological death, the chapter argues that “the problem posed by blackness” is an antagonism rooted in the historically naturalized logics of society, including physical space, and is not a conflict that can be rectified through legal means. Through a more optimistic lens, it also highlights the various ways Black women and gender nonconforming individuals practiced a choreopolitics—of bodies in space—that demanded the terms of visibility be set by those “in view.” This particular practice of visibility and an insistence on simply living as an act of protest illustrate the capacity and power that Black lives and life hold in revealing the truth and thus reconfiguring the metrics of living as fully human.

Keywords:   queer theory, North St. Louis County, Black struggle, visibility, blackness, Black lives, Black women, gender nonconformance, choreopolitics, protest

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