Against the Grain

Grief and the Politics of Race

Racial politics intrude into a poor woman’s grief when her dead child is African American and he’s fallen prey to urban violence. According to Ina Kelleher, grieving Black mothers often have to perform a kind of emotional labor in order to garner public sympathy and to push back against racist assumptions and tropes. Kelleher discusses the case of a Chicagoan whose sixteen-year-old son was beaten to death in a street fight.

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