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First impression? Whew! (actually it was more like "!@?&! Are we ready for this?! ).
Collectively we agreed that we are ready and began reading Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World, which proved to be the intellectual challenge we anticipated. Scholars of Black studies, literature, and humanities, buckle up.
Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, who is an English professor, is rewriting the relationship between Blackness and animality that permeates Western philosophy, literature, and science.
Throughout the book she builds the argument that dynamic African diasporic literature and art alter the historical depiction and meaning of being human. She shows how the cultural works of Toni Morrison, Wangechi Mutu, and others present humanity that's at odds with animalization. They counter the pattern of bestializing and "thingificating" Blackness.
Jackson includes the argument for deeper thought in science, critical theory, philosophy, ontology, and history.
In today's anti-racist climate, "Becoming Human" lends valuable context to the constant presentation that dehumanizes Black people and imagines Blacks as nothing, non-beings, or empty vessels.
Jackson writes, "I maintain that Blackness, and the abject fleshly figures that bear the weight of the world, is a being (something rather than nothing, perhaps even everything), and I aim to reveal and unsettle the machinations that suggest Blackness is nothingness. "
However, her academic writing is not for the casual or even the most thoughtful and erudite reader. 3.5-star. Academicians, enjoy.