Law, Race, and Political Blackness in the UK

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What is it like to be a black criminal lawyer in a white supremacist racist colonial system? How can one exercise a decolonial critique of this system knowing that fair treatment is not be found within its bounds? Further, what does it mean to practice law at all when this system is the predominant incriminating agent of non-white people, chief pretender to be the unquestioned dispenser of justice, and historically sanctions the violence of ‘law enforcement’ all at once? Helping us think through these questions is Kevin Bismark Cobham who is a Cambridge educated criminal defence lawyer who also defines himself as a movement lawyer, Pan-Africanist and community activist based in London. We also discuss a notion of ‘political blackness’ which is peculiar to the UK and look at its origins, goals and limitations in the context of a global understanding of blackness as formed by the violence of modernity, ‘the bowels of the slave ship’, and ‘the furnace of the plantation’.

 

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