N*gga Theory: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law

N*gga Theory: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law

N*gga Theory: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law

N*gga Theory: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law


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America's criminal justice system is among the deadliest and most racist in the world and it disproportionately targets Black Americans, who are also disproportionately poor, hungry, houseless, jobless, sick, and poorly educated. By every metric of misery, this nation does not act like Black Lives Matter.

In order to break out of the trap of racialized mass incarceration and relentless racial oppression, we, as a society, need to rethink our basic assumptions about blame and punishment, words and symbols, social perceptions and judgments, morality, politics, and the power of the performing arts.

N*gga Theory interrogates conventional assumptions and frames a transformational new way of thinking about law, language, moral judgments, politics, and transgressive art—especially profane genres like gangsta rap—and exposes where racial bias lives in the administration of justice and everyday life.

Professor Jody Armour (Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism) calls for bold action: electing progressive prosecutors, defunding or dismantling the police, abolition of the prison industrial complex. But only after eradicating the anti-black bias buried in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans and baked into our legal system will we be able to say that Black Lives Matter in America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781940660684
Publisher: Los Angeles Review of Books
Publication date: 08/18/2020
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 225,782
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Jody David Armour is the Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at the University of Southern California. He has been a member of the faculty since 1995. Armour's expertise ranges from personal injury claims to claims about the relationship between racial justice, criminal justice, and the rule of law. Armour studies the intersection of race and legal decision making as well as torts and tort reform movements.

A widely published scholar and popular lecturer, Armour is a Soros Justice Senior Fellow of The Open Society Institute's Center on Crime, Communities and Culture. Armour earned his AB degree in Sociology at Harvard University and his JD degree with honors from Boalt Hall Law School at UC Berkeley. Prior to joining USC, he was an associate at Morrison & Foerster, Kirkpatrick and Lockhart and taught at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall, Indiana University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Armour currently teaches students a diverse array of subjects, including Criminal Law, Torts, and Stereotypes and Prejudice: The Role of the Cognitive Unconscious in the Rule of Law. He is the author of Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism: The Hidden Costs of Being Black in America and N*gga Theory: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law.

Melina Abdullah is Professor and former Chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Southern California in Political Science and her B.A. from Howard University in African American Studies. She was appointed to the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission in 2014 and is a recognized expert on race, gender, class, and social movements. Abdullah is the author of numerous articles and book chapters, with subjects ranging from political coalition building to womanist mothering.

One of the nation's leading progressive District Attorneys, Larry Krasner serves as DA for Philadelphia, having campaigned on the platform to radically reform elements of the criminal justice system to reduce racialized mass incarceration.

Table of Contents

Foreword Larry Krasner iii

Introduction Melina Abdullah vii

Prologue Nigga Theory: A Song of Solidarity 3

Chapter 1 Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity in Blame and Punishment 37

Chapter 2 Moral Luck in the Social Production of "niggas" 65

Chapter 3 Law in the Social Construction of "niggas" 87

Chapter 4 The Midwifery Properties of the N-word 125

Chapter 5 Metaphysical Theatre and Nigga Theory in Nine Acts 149

Chapter 6 How Race Trumped Class in 2016 161

Chapter 7 Condemning "niggas" 177

Chapter 8 Nigga Theory and Praxis: Where the Rubber Meets the Road 189

Conclusion Coda 215

Acknowledgments 227

Notes 229

Index 259

What People are Saying About This

Frank Wilderson III

"He's brilliant and a kindred spirit. Amazing."

Christina Jackson

Forthcoming. Christina is a public urban sociologist whose work deals with urban inequality and activism.

Salamishah Tillet

Forthcoming. Salamishah's research considers black film, literature, and pop culture. She is the co-founder of A Long Walk Home, Inc.

foreword - Larry Krasner

"This hopeful and aspirational book reminds us to see individuals and their lives, including the details, however unexpected. He lets us see how within his beloved black community the politics of division do sweeping harm that no amount of success can shake."

introduction - Melina Abdullah

"When Jody Armour invited me to write the foreword, his brilliance, commitment, and deep love for our people took precedent over my own discomfort with the N-word.His work has challenged me to be deeply introspective, to grapple with my identity, my beliefs, and my outward praxis. It has forced me to question and to grow."

"This volume is not about the word, but about the imposed dichotomy between 'black people' and 'n*****s.' It is about the strategic and ethical decision to align with n****s, especially when we have the option to be seen as 'good Negroes'.”

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