One wonders why the world is “surprised,” again and again, by images and vindications of state-sanctioned violence. This article draws from the work of Toni Morrison, Christina Sharpe, and Calvin Warren to suggest that this is the case because blackness is lived the “always now” of the hold. The “always now” draws from Morrison's Beloved, Sharpe's '"residence time,” and Warren's “black time” to demonstrate that blackness exists in a temporality that does not move forward. It is precisely the “always now” of the hold that makes possible notions of “progress” in the antiblack world. I suggest that this dynamic is theodicean; it is a logic that justifies the goodness of the world's “progress” in and through the violence of the always now. Tending to George Floyd, I show how his dying was used for national absolution. In this regard, the always now saves the world, but black people are not saved. But perhaps we never wanted salvation. Perhaps “salvation” is not what we were after, but instead a fleeting, flying escape from the temporal and political atonement logic that can only live through the reduction of life to dying. In my conclusion, I gesture toward care in the hold as something like an alternative to the political-theological salvation of progress. If we are not saved, then perhaps the very impossibility of salvation opens out into the possibility of something else, something the world can neither understand nor fathom; perhaps the always now opens out into something different.
- George Floyd
- residence time
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Religious studies
- Sociology and Political Science