Say their Name: A Critique of Statistical Norms as a Means of Grappling with Black Death

18 February 2021

Say their Name: A Critique of Statistical Norms as a Means of Grappling with Black Death

Breonna Taylor Mural in Annapolis; Image credit: capitalgazette.com

This article is concerned with the unintended consequences that result from relying upon statics in lieu of a normative theory when discussing the murders of Black people at the hands of the state. I examine how the recitation of statistics treats an individual’s death as ontologically equivalent to the rate of death of a group. In so doing, the individual life that has been lost to State violence is stripped of its singularity. By speaking of Black life primarily in terms of Black death, we neglect the unique precarity of Black life as it exists (persists) between recorded deaths

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