Stand Your Ground?


From Kelly Brown Douglas’ Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God: “The Stand Your Ground law is an extension of English Common Law that gives a person the right to protect his or her “castle.” Stand Your Ground law essentially broadens the notion of castle to include one’s body. It permits certain individuals to protect their embodied castle whenever and wherever they feel threatened. Essentially, a person’s body is his or her castle. In this regard, a person does not have to retreat from the place in which he or she is “castled”; they can stand their ground. While this law was initially invoked as a reason for Trayvon’s slaying, it was not used as a formal defense. Nevertheless, Stand Your Ground law signals a social-cultural climate that makes the destruction and death of black bodies inevitable and even permissible. It is this very climate that also sustains the Prison Industrial Complex, which thrives on black male bodies. Most disturbing, this stand-your-ground climate seems only to have intensified as it continues to take young black lives such as those of Renisha McBride, Jonathan Ferrell, and Jordan Davis. The repeated slaying of innocent black bodies makes it clear that there is an urgent need for soul searching within this nation.”


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