Tjalling Valdés Olmos – A Posthuman “No Humans Involved”: Eric Garner, the Dehumanisation of Black Subjects, and Thinking Towards Ethics of Relationality

Abstract

In “No Humans Involved,” Sylvia Wynter traces how white Americans came “to conceive of what it means to be both human and North American in the
kinds of terms […] within whose logic […] young Black males can be perceived, and therefore behaved towards, only as the Lack of the human” (Wynter 43). She
follows up by asking “what our responsibility [is] for the making of those ‘inner eyes’” (ibid.) before questioning what responsibility might look like with regard to
the knowledge and image production that perpetuates systemic dehumanising violence against black bodies. As a case study this paper focusses on the increasing proliferation of surveillance videos capturing American state-sanctioned violations against black bodies, specifically the case of Eric Garner, and poses that even though technology has made the world a Foucauldian panopticon, it has not changed who watches and who is watched – and how our “inner eyes” (Wynter 43) are watching and dehumanising. The paper furthermore seeks to explicate on what a new ethico-political project on this type of knowledge and image production might look like through reading Wynter in conjunction with Karen Barad’s and Kathrin Thiele’s respective posthuman projects. I argue that this dialogue allows for a critical re-imagination of what difference means when we ‘consume’ imagery of black bodies being violated and killed.

Keywords

Wynter, race, biopolitics, posthumanism, ethics.

Section

Articles

Pages

Digressions 2.1 (2016), pp. 44-58

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Tjalling Valdés Olmos - A Posthuman "No Humans Involved": Eric Garner, the Dehumanisation of Black Subjects, and Thinking Towards Ethics of Relationality