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Afro-ParadiseBlackness, Violence, and Performance in Brazil$
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Christen A. Smith

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039935

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039935.001.0001

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In and Out of the Ineffable

In and Out of the Ineffable

(p.179) 5 In and Out of the Ineffable

Christen A. Smith

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses the gendered impact of state violence on the black family. If Afro-paradise is the nation's disavowal of blackness—its celebration of black culture coupled with the imperative to kill black people—then both physical and spiritual violence are essential to this project. This state violence in Bahia is a kind of terrorism, which is political in nature, but should not be read solely as a performance intended for “the victims” (those killed). Instead, the political targets of this violence are the communities and families of those who die. The families of those killed are often the hardest hit. The trauma that this war produces is not only physical but also spiritual, and witnessing is then a political and spiritual response to this terror. And while one of the effects of Afro-paradise is the social and physical death of black people, blackness is not reducible to these effects.

Keywords:   state violence, black families, gender, black Brazilians, Afro-paradise

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