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The Agony of a Racial Democracy


In this paper I argue that Trayvon Martin’s shooting signals urgent, broader democratic problems. On the one hand, it is evidence of a continued view of blacks as dangerous. On the other, it brings to light continuing black distrust in American institutions. However, I further suggest the fact of systemic racial inequality alongside continued corporeal violations against blacks represents American society’s ongoing democratic pain and suffering – our shared agony. But agony can also refer to pain and suffering before death, thus I conclude by taking seriously the ways our racial practices could bring about this latter kind agony – democratic death.