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BUTLER, Judith; JARDIM, Fabiana A. A.; TEIXEIRA, Jacqueline Moraes  e  RINALDI, Sebastião. Endangered/endangering: schematic racism and white paranoia. Educ. Pesqui. [online]. 2020, vol.46, e460100302.  Epub 30-Nov-2020. ISSN 1678-4634.

The text was originally published in 1993 as a chapter in the book Reading Rodney King, Reading Urban Uprising, edited by Robert Gooding-Williams. It is dedicated to the analysis of the series of events triggered from the beating of Rodney King, a 27-year-old black man, by white policemen in March 1991 in the city of Los Angeles. The violence was recorded on video and generated public outrage, making it possible for four police officers to be criminally indicted. Taken to the jury, they were all acquitted, which sparked a cycle of protests over a week; the protests were harshly repressed by the same police force that threw itself at Rodney King and left more than sixty dead and more than two thousand wounded. Judith Butler’s contribution is dedicated to understanding how it was possible that prosecution and defense both resorted to the recording. How could the same set of images have been “seen” as a demonstration of police violence and as its justification? The author identifies the existence of a racially saturated field of visibility that circumscribes the perception of people who understand themselves as white, whose identity is sustained by the projection of violence on the other racialized as black. In this sense, absolution becomes understandable as the effect of a racist episteme, which takes Rodney King’s black male body as the origin and reason for the violence imposed on him, exempting the police from responsibility. Hence the strategic importance of the public act of reading and rereading the images, which are put into operation within a framework sustained by a racist regime of production and distribution of images that also, very often, retains the possibility of making them readable.

Palavras-chave : Racism; Police violence; Urban uprising; Images; Whiteness.

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