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Trauma and TranscendenceSuffering and the Limits of Theory$
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Eric Boynton and Peter Capretto

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823280261

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823280261.001.0001

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Black Embodied Wounds and the Traumatic Impact of the White Imaginary

Black Embodied Wounds and the Traumatic Impact of the White Imaginary

(p.142) Chapter 7: Black Embodied Wounds and the Traumatic Impact of the White Imaginary
Trauma and Transcendence

George Yancy

Fordham University Press

This chapter theorizes racialization as an interstitial process. In the context of white supremacy, white privilege, and white power, whiteness functions as the transcendental norm that obfuscates its own racialization and normative constitution vis-à-vis Blackness, thereby marking the Black body within the socio-political matrix as “dangerous,” “evil,” “suspicious,” and “disposable.” It analyzes racialization as a site of trauma, a wounding, and a felt terror of both symbolic and existential annihilation. The experience of trauma thus is the result of a violation and violence that attempts to reduce Black people to a state of pure facticity, the very absence of transcendence, where Black alterity is reduced to the white racist imago. This paper contextualizes the historical backdrop of anti-Black racism through the examples of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and the author’s personal experience with racial hate speech. This demonstrates how the Black body has undergone a long and enduring history of racialized somatic trauma.

Keywords:   Blackness, Embodiment, Race, Somatic Trauma, Whiteness

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