Race, Language, and Performance in American Legal Space: Rachel Jeantel, Testimonial Truth, and the George Zimmerman Trial
"Race, Language, and Performance in American Legal Space: Rachel Jeantel, Testimonial Truth, and the George Zimmerman Trial" explores the usual intersections of the legal system and institutional racism in America, but from a new angle--from that of voice. By zooming in on the George Zimmerman Trial--the 2012 case of seventeen-year Trayvon Martin's murder by a neighborhood watchman--I find a prime space to explore race, language, and performance in the examination of lead witness Rachel Jeantel. Through multiple conflations and confusions of speech, listening, and performance, the reception of this testimony problematizes the space which we assume racism to work primarily in--that of the visual. As becomes evident throughout Jeantel's questioning, the law is fraught with an audio-invested racial politics which is often completely under-examined. By opening the doors to race, sound, and speech in law, I hope to further critical race theory's call to make whiteness visible and to give new life to all the ways in which Cheryl Harris's "Whiteness as Property" means.
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The Language of Professional Blackness: African American English at the Intersection of Race, Place, and Class in Southeast, Washington, D.C. Grieser, Jessica (Georgetown University, 2015)Increasingly, studies of African American English (AAE) include in their scope the speech of upper and middle-class African Americans (Rahman 2008; Weldon 2011; Alim and Smitherman 2012; Weldon and Britt forthcoming), ...