The Fleshy Excess of Black Life: Mike Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice

Decolonization

by Eric Ritskes

Black life, Blackness, “Black holding on, Black making a way out of no way” is always in excess of the antiblack settler colonial state. And, in its excess, it is always threatening to the order and sense making of the state.

This excess is carried in and on the bodies of Black peoples, it is embodied and illegible to the state, unable to be incorporated into Whiteness, and is thus always present before, beyond and against the state. Blackness as excess is, as Alex Weheliye explains, a fleshy excess. It spills over and protrudes; it cannot be contained. It is always escaping. It is always already too much.

In each of three most recent cases of Black death to garner mass mainstream media attention – the deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice – the bodily excess of the victims was used as…

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