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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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Ontologies of Resistance

Ontologies of Resistance

(p.190) 7 Ontologies of Resistance
Black Lives and Spatial Matters

Jodi Rios

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores the conflicts that arose between Ferguson protesters and local and national activist organizations, as well as the misrecognitions concerning relationships to, and alliances with, the Black Lives Matter organization and subsequent movements. These contestations of meaning, belonging, and territory, as well as concerns regarding who may speak for whom, reveal the multivalent and fluid conditions and constructions of blackness and gender. The Black diasporic subject is fundamentally shaped by shared loss, displacement, trauma, and forms of political death. However, the ways individuals and groups generatively (and differently) practice sociality and antagonize beliefs about “civil society” are creative acts that draw from particularized experiences across space and time. In this way, blackness is “the irreparable disturbance of ontology's time and space.” The resistance that emerged in Ferguson interrogated the boundaries of Black intelligibility and exposed the tensions and contradictions that simultaneously exist within the ontological totality of Black struggle. The chapter looks at some of those tensions in order to foreground the complexity and contradictions of an ontological blackness.

Keywords:   Ferguson protesters, activist organizations, Black Lives Matter, blackness, gender, Black struggle, ontological blackness

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