Abstract

Abstract:

The history of negating black childhood and the history of rendering the full potential of black citizenship an unbegotten promise are paired together through violent notions of time. Examining black childhood in two eras, this article argues that childhood is deadly under antiblackness because of its ambivalent and discrepant stickiness to black bodies, and its positioning of blackness within differing relations to futurity and temporality. The first section critically unpacks infantilizing discourses within colonial law, abolitionist discourse, and gradual emancipation during the antebellum era. The second undertakes an interrogation of the discursive constructions of Trayvon Martin’s adolescence during the so-called postracial era. Across these eras, the constructions of black childhood and adolescence as being out of time, as defined by prolonged dependency and elongated becoming, allow the violences of antiblackness to continue amid dubious claims to progress: the alleged success of Northern abolition, and the emergence of a postracial society. Pairing the temporal negations of black childhood in these two eras, it offers the framing of adolescent citizenship. Adolescent citizenship is the produced relation between some citizens and the nation whereby the adolescent citizen’s demands for recognition are dismissed under the guise of the citizen’s, and the demand’s, inappropriate timing.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 473-494
Launched on MUSE
2019-07-06
Open Access
No
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