Wednesday, February 24, 2021

"Subject to being picked up": Black men and police suspicion in Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon"

When the Black men at Tommy's Barbershop in Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon" laugh, they turn "atrocities" into humor, but when they talk about how the police behave towards them when a murder is being investigated, their laughter is "wan and nervous": "Each man in that room knew he was subject to being picked up as he walked the street and whatever his proof of who he was and where he was at the time of the murder, he’d have a very uncomfortable time being questioned." At any time, the arbitrariness of police power can make these men into uncomfortable subjects stripped of the agency to offer any proof against suspicion. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 24 February 2021)



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