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The Dialectics of Standing One’s Ground

From: Theory & Event
Volume 15, Issue 3, 2012
| 10.1353/tae.2012.0047

Abstract

Abstract:

In this paper, I read Trayvon Martin’s murder at the hands of George Zimmerman and the ensuing debates surrounding Stand Your Ground law through Frantz Fanon’s critical reformulation of Hegel’s master-slave dialectic. For Fanon, the unacknowledged reciprocity of Hegel’s dialectic obscures the sub-ontological realm—to which Fanon and Martin alike were condemned—and Fanon’s concept of comparaison sheds further light on Zimmerman’s motivations as a liminally racialized subject. I argue that it is precisely by questioning the circularity of Hegel’s formulation—in which to stand one’s ground is to claim what one already has access to—and by diagnosing what lies beneath that ground that we can avoid mistaking the legal symptom for the underlying ailment and craft strategies for resisting white supremacy in the present.


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