United States

The costs of inequality: A goal of justice, a reality of unfairness

Colleen Walsh’s write-up “The costs of inequality: A goal of justice, a reality of unfairness,” (fifth in a series on inequality) published in Harvard Gazette is an eye-opener in that it has exposed the US criminal justice system imprisoning millions of people of which the black population occupies a stark portion. According the article, the US puts 2.2 million people behind the bar, which is more than any other country in the world. More appalling, nearly one-fourth of the world’s jailbirds are detained in American prison.

Trans Lives, Embodiment, and Non-human Status



This blog post attempts to respond to trans lives, embodiment, and the status of non-human wherein trans lives are always already placed as they twist, tangle, and queer notions of male/female, masculine/feminine, and beyond. My usage of queer echoes Eve Sedgwick's definition of 'queer' as an Indo-European word, meaning 'twerk'. Here, then, it is imperative to make note of the multitudinous ways in which trans embodiment visibilizes despite perpetual rendering of trans lives and bodies as always already non-human, dead, and atemporal contingent upon politics of heteronormativity, homonormativity, and of course, gendered-sexed-racialized sediments layered upon the body's materiality, inhabiting orientation(s) in time and space. In this moment of query, let us call upon Achille Mbembe's essay Necropolitics and come to understand trans lives and bodies as subject to death-worlds, further considering what it means to embody notions of transness in this deathly space. To that end, trans lives exist in and through suicidal temporalities, exploding normative time, resituating embodiment against traditional ways of thinking suicide (i.e. cowardice act, permanent solution to a temporary problem, a response to depression, impulsive, ad infinitum). In this way, I would like to take a moment to further problematize trans lives, embodiment, and the status of non-human through (re)reading Kayden Clarke's police-induced-murder, where allegedly a SWAT team acted appropriately in response to a 'suicide call'. To align our ears with Mbembe: "Homicide and suicide are accomplished in the same act. And to a large extent, resistance and self-destruction are synonymous" (36). At the same time, Mbembe leaves room for agency, autonomy, and power over one's death, placing suicidal temporalities in something like a future. Thus as we read this article on Kayden Clarke's bodily death, brought about by a SWAT team, a trans life, marked as non-human at the hands of the nation-state, intersected with Asperger's, what are we to make of the notion of transness (being-trans) and human rights? How does this particular story connect to police brutality; what are the similarities and differences of this account of police-induced-murder juxtaposed to other accounts of police brutality? And importantly, while acknowledging space as bracketed through power, negating being-in-the-world (Heidegger), how can we, simultaneously, take into account power over one's death? I'm interested in considering and gingerly complicating these connections, particularly in the case of Kayden Clarke, namely to better understand the intricate ways of remembering him. 







Instead of Mass Deportations, We Need a Moratorium

In his recent statement about a new wave of deportations, Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, argues that despite the pain that deportations cause, "we must enforce the law... At all times, we endeavor to do this consistent with American values, and basic principles of decency, fairness, and humanity." As scholars of immigration, we are compelled to respond to both the logical fallacies and moral bankruptcy used to justify the Obama administration's family deportation raids.

US government deporting Central American migrants to their deaths

Guardian investigation into consequences of Obama’s migration crackdown reveals US deportees have been murdered shortly after return to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, with study saying as many as 83 killed since 2014.

The US government is deporting undocumented immigrants back to Central America to face the imminent threat of violence, with several individuals being murdered just days or months after their return, a Guardian investigation has found.


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