“Creative maladjustment” in the West Baltimore uprising
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This article looks to psychoanalytic theory to underscore how actions of collective refusal can disrupt systems of racial injustice. Specifically, I focus on the recent uprising in West Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, a black man killed while in police custody. I elaborate on Martin Luther King Jr.’s notion of “creative maladjustment” to reject the media’s depiction of the Baltimore uprising as indicative of pathology within the community and instead theorize the event as conducive to ethical and social change. Through King’s notion of “creative maladjustment” and a Lacanian notion of ethics, I contend that Baltimore dissidents have challenged the normalcy of structural racism, initiating a transformation in America’s approach to race-based dispossession, state violence, and mass incarceration.
KeywordsMartin Luther King Jr. Freddie Gray Baltimore psychoanalysis urban uprising
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