Photography, Weaponized Stigma and the Formerly Incarcerated:

Is Photography a Social Force for Change and New Stories?

The culmination of the ideas that follow will be presented in an exhibition September 26 — October 2, 2019, at the NYU Gallatin Gallery. For more information, visit https://wp.nyu.edu/gallatingalleries/.

INTRODUCTION

There is danger in a single story. In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk, we learned that there are real consequences of having a single story propagated about a person, demographic or people. A single-story cannot capture the totality of a person, but equally, important a single story can create stereotypes and rob people of dignity. As Adichie said, “it makes recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar.”[1] For the formerly incarcerated, their crime(s) and ascribed criminality is their single story. While most can easily understand how a young Adichie felt having never read any books about Africa or Africans (she had access to only American and British books that made her feel like she didn’t belong), others are hard-pressed to see incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people as anything other than criminals.

Logically, some people can rationalize that not all people who are imprisoned are criminals, few people in this country would call Mandela a criminal and people tend to make exceptions for their family members, friends, and those convicted of non-violent crimes, like drug-related felonies. In other words, some people can rationalize that the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated are more than their convictions. Overwhelmingly, however, that is not the case. Terms like “criminal,” “offender,” “inmate,” “prisoner,” and “felon,” can foreclose any other story. When people speak these words, are they also imagining that the individual is also a mother, student, baker or bank teller? No. These single identities connected to single stories lockout possibilities. How do we actively make space for the multiplicity and complexity of the human experience when the media and other outlets insist on a single story for the convenience of their concise reporting and in the engagement in their role as “secondary definers” on the local and world stage?[2] Can photography help accomplish this?

HISTORICAL PRECEDENCE

Frederick Douglass loved the field of photography and is one of the most photographed people of the nineteenth century (Figure 1). He saw the medium as a way to counter the pseudo-scientific field of scientific racism that used photographs, such as those of J. T. Zealy — Daguerreian and Louis Agassiz — scientist, to support theories of racial inferiority and resonate “with the popular imagination.”[3] In other words, the images worked to tell a single story about enslaved people. The physiology of the enslaved was human, but for most white people it did not follow that the enslaved was entitled to human rights, but if images could work in one direction, could they work in the opposite? Frederick Douglass thought so and saw the medium as a viable tool to release the shackles of enslavement and write a new story of the black people, especially at the time of the Civil War.[4] Photographer and curator Deborah Willis argued that Douglass believed that the entire landscape, the social and political life of black people could be radically changed if black people were photographed as they saw themselves.[5] Douglass demonstrated this and set out to defy stereotypes and counter stigma through the lens of a camera for himself and believed it could do the same for all African Americans.

Douglass believed in the power of photography to tell a truer story and reveal a participant’s character. Laura Wexler in describing Douglass’ lectures on pictures said, “Douglass believed that the formerly enslaved could reverse the social death that defined slavery with another objectifying flash: this time creating a positive image of the social life of freedom and proving that African American consciousness had been there.”[6] In effect, he believed the camera could “humanize” a person. The concept of humanization, of course, was particularly important to the abolition movement to end slavery. In Deborah Willis’ The Black Civil War Soldier: Conflict and Citizenship, the goal of full citizenship, patriotism, true freedom, is present in every frame. Soldiers presented themselves in their uniforms of belonging, while equally representing their race, but most importantly, their rights human rights and equality.[7] Their photos directly contested the photos made by whites during this period to demonstrate they African-Americans were unfit to serve in the military.[8] Douglass believed that picture making — “the process by which man can invert his own subjective consciousness, into the objective form, considered in all its range” — was “in truth the highest attribute of man’s nature.[9]

Yet, when Douglass argued for the admittance of black men and himself into the military to serve in the war, he was keenly aware that such freedom would equal only “impartial freedom.”[10] Was this an acknowledgment that even with military service to the country and the end of slavery, black people would not be free? Is he acknowledging the structural formations of racism and how it is/was embedded in the fabric of American life, and would not equal freedom after the war? If so, he nevertheless remained hopeful when he said, “Poets, prophets, and reformers are all picture makers — and this ability is the secret of their power and of their achievements. They see what ought to be by their reflections of what is, and endeavor to remove the contradiction.”[11]

If a photo of an African-American soldier was placed side by side with a photo of the same man enslaved, could his intrinsic value as a human and his right to personhood in the law be in question? Knowing that slave owners photographed slaves against their will to mark the enslaved as other, as property for identification and ownership, we also know that photographs do so much more.[12] In reading photographs one can discern emotions, get a sense of vulnerability, strength, dreams, and comfort/discomfort.[13] The style of dress helps one ascertain class, prosperity, socio-economic status, and health.[14] Could the juxtaposition of the two have a profound effect in ascertaining humanity and therefore, the rights of citizenship?

Abolitionists used the juxtaposition of the enslaved and the freed in photography in an attempt to show the humanity of two African-American children rescued in Virginia.[15] (Figures 2 and 3). They took the time to photograph the children with the same background, props and body positions with the only notable change being the clothes the children were wearing. The children were dressed in the “now” photo in the clothes of citizens, not property. This is key. There has been a shift in the notion of their identity as property, but has there been a shift in the notion that they are citizens, people of agency, of choice? I argue that in the looks on the children’s faces, the emotions that can be read in their eyes, can discern first their humanity, but secondly that while they may be free physically, they don’t “feel” free. One can imagine the various actors, likely white, moving their bodies about to achieve just the right position and making them stand interminably still for the “right” shot. Did any of the props in the photo belong to the children? Did they get to choose the clothing they were wearing? Were they even asked to participate in the photograph? In 1864, in the middle of the Civil War, there is a sense that their bodies were still not their own. The cause of abolition is good, but there is a sense in these photos they were taken without choice, and therefore, there’s not a new story at all. In other words, because the medium of photography captures so much more than an outward presentation, changing the uniform of not/belonging, is not enough to communicate agency, freedom and full possession of self. Because we can see light in the eyes, pride in the tilt of the chin, peace in the unfurrowed brow when that is not the case. The power of photography is how we can read self-possession and emotion, because that then corresponds to the observer, rendering an emotional response, a recognition of common humanity and common rights. More than a single story.

Can photos tell more than a single story of the formerly incarcerated? How might photography be used today to reveal the character of the formerly incarcerated and their tangible quest for full citizenship and equal access to resources and opportunity? How can we use photography to get the formerly incarcerated free from the taint of criminality, the stigma that relegates most of us to what Michelle Alexander described as, “a permanent outcast status?”[16] How can we weaponize photography for the formerly incarcerated? To do so, we must first understand how stigma is weaponized against the formerly incarcerated.

THE WORK OF STIGMA

Once a person becomes justice-involved they lose their right to privacy, choice, and self-possession. Now, the loss of these rights is justified in our society for violating legal and social norms. The general myth, however, is that the loss of these rights is temporary and existing as long as the term of exile, i.e. incarceration, from the larger group. Upon the completion of a sentence, then the restoration of one’s right to privacy, choice, and self-possession along with the right of access to resources and opportunity, should follow forthwith. It is an injustice, however, that the formerly incarcerated do not experience a restoration of these rights. Quite the opposite. Once convicted and released, the formerly incarcerated are subject to enduring stigma.

According to Erving Goffman, author of Stigma: Notes on a Spoiled Identity, a stigma is an “attribute that is deeply discrediting.”[17] An attribute is “a quality, character, or characteristic ascribed to someone.”[18] “Criminal” and crime specific monikers such as “thief,” “killer,” and “whore” are attached to anyone involved in the criminal legal system* and are difficult to change because the presence of a “criminal” in society allows all others to think themselves normal.[19] It is a categorization much like race, sex, and class that is most effective in illuminating someone’s outcast status.[20] The stigma prevents the formerly incarcerated from realizing privacy because of the constant demand for disclosure of one’s past failures. The same is true for self-possession and choice.

Because the formerly incarcerated are tainted and not “normal,” they suffer particularly from those in position to grant access to opportunity and resources. They may feel purposefully held down — held back by those in authority to punish them. For this project, I use the term “carceral agents,” because I want to convey that in the afterlife of incarceration, the formerly incarcerated are still battling carceral logics of governance of the carceral state. Carceral agents are endowed with the power to establish what and who is normal, “and each individual, wherever he may find himself subjects to [them] his body, his gestures, his behavior, his aptitudes, his achievements.”[21] Carceral agents hold discretionary power — it is in their hands if an arrest warrant is issued, probation or parole is revoked, or a payment is processed. This power is great, and therefore, people at the mercy of this power live their lives walking a tightrope.

Not all formerly incarcerated people are visibly legible as formerly incarcerated; most pass as “normal” people, and so, a carceral logic of governance says there must be a way to distinguish one from the other. In prisons, specific colored uniforms and/or badges did the trick.[22] The stigma should be “perceptible,” and perceptibility is aided, according to Goffman, by previous knowledge. Therefore, the “criminal” background must be known to effectively impute stigma and establish otherness. For without it, a formerly incarcerated person could mistakenly be treated like everyone else and given access that is not due them, therefore, “. . . stigma pertains to social identity,” based on as I argue, the legal identity from a conviction and a criminal record. [23] A personal identity must then give way to the social and legal identity because a single identity is required of us all. When they are all melded into one, an official identity, “intentionally articulated through a series of documents produced for a specific purpose — ‘to delineate and enforce a single identity through which an individual must conduct his or her affairs, and on which the state can rely for monitoring that conduct” — is created.[24] This official identity, rooted in a person’s documented criminal history and stigmatized social identity and substantiated through processes of verification is one of the primary reasons the formerly incarcerated can’t get away from a “criminal” designation.[25]

Goffman, when writing his now-famous text about stigma, chose not to account for how the processes of stigma become widespread or stigma’s relation to power. While stigma is relational, it is also structural. Legislatures, state and government officials and the like, through the creation of punitive policies, provide the structural moorings of stigma, which are found in laws, codes, and regulations that are disseminated to law enforcement and carceral agents for deployment.[26] A criminalized single story is one structural process of stigmatization that when demanded of the formerly incarcerated weaponizes stigma. The deployment of weaponized stigma is a tool of social control. It is reinforced in social interactions with law enforcement, citizens and carceral agents, reproducing itself as it targets those tainted with criminality over and over again, creating inequality through unequal relationships of power.[27] Backed by the power of the state, weaponized stigma ensures that the formerly incarcerated experience little to no class mobility, wagelessness, disenfranchisement, and civic exclusion.[28] Further, it insists the formerly incarcerated make ourselves deserving of access to resources and opportunities by constantly meeting the demand for biographic mediation. Weaponized stigma can also negatively affect one’s relationship to oneself. Because most of us can’t claim “innocence” and receive the support of civil rights organizations or the dominant power structure, and as the criminal past is recounted and remembered, the weight of missing the mark or failing can in itself be debilitating, negatively colliding with one’s reentry and stabilization, threatening psychic trauma and devaluation.[29] The media also plays a role in the continued loss of self-possession and choice. The formerly incarcerated, as it stands now, are typically depicted by the media through the lens of criminality and are without choice in the matter, regardless of the length of time from conviction, whether they were exonerated, or even whether they are themselves victims of crime. The cumulative realities of stigma bring us back to Goffman.

As Goffman tells the stigmatized what they should do to counteract stigma, but he fails to excavate the structures and power dynamics that formulate and reproduce the violence of stigmatization. What are the power dynamics and structures that weaponize stigma through these processes? A carceral rationality of governance is the scaffolding that institutes and supports power structures “from above.”[30] Through carceral policies that reproduce inequality through an operating ideology — built on racialized economic practices, debt, and a neoliberal understanding of finance and markets — our ways of living in the world are met by state-sanctioned extraction, expropriation, confinement, and “gratuitous” violence.[31]

In the carceral rationality of governance, any formerly incarcerated people that fail to make it once released are reported as self-induced failures without a measure of the long-term effects of trauma, incarceration, the violence of poverty, ostracism, and stigmatization and legal barriers to citizenship. Failure to succeed in one’s reentry finds no evidence of support in the structural formations of racism, sexism, classism or criminality, according to this ideology. It is the fault of the individual if they suffer and fail as a result of the removal of social and economic supports in communities, when in fact “the project of dismantling the welfare state gained legitimacy through the association of social entitlements with blackness.”[32] It is the fault of the individual, who is essentially being assessed of their worthiness to the market, who is then made subject to degrading and humiliating demands for a criminalized single story. It is in this way that such stories are intimately linked to a carceral rationality of governance that produces inequality and blocks and/or hinders access to resources and opportunity by weaponizing stigma. It is enacted violence.

Several scholars have conceptualizations that speak to this violence. Michelle Alexander argues that through social stigma processes — which a criminalized single story is one — the formerly incarcerated are “confined to the margins of mainstream society and denied access to the mainstream economy.”[33] Laura Berlant describes a process of slow death as, “the physical wearing out of a population in a way that points to its deterioration as a defining condition of its experience and historical existence.”[34] Lisa Marie Cacho, extended Orlando Patterson’s theorization of social death to suspected terrorists, gang members and the undocumented and I argue, should include the formerly incarcerated. Social death can be defined as the criminalization of certain people wherein they are systematically excluded from the law’s protection, but not from its discipline, where assigning value lies not with individuals but with a system composed of legal, state, governmental, and financial entities that empower their agents to dictate the normative.[35]

All three are ways of understanding the violence of weaponized stigma and how it is operationalized, how it reeks devastation on the individual. We tend to talk about “the formerly incarcerated,” and can forget that we are talking about individual lives. In the arrest, conviction, incarceration, and hyper-surveillance of the formerly incarcerated and the systematic locking out of resources and opportunities, there is much violence that is not visible upon the body but is dispersed across time and space and thus is not thought of as violence at all. Most incarcerated people find ways to navigate the particular dehumanization that is inherent in the operation of a prison and the consequences, but as myself and others argue, not without ill effects.[36] Violence is carried further into “unfreedom”[37] wherein the newly released are overwhelmingly poor and subject to legal, financial and social collateral consequences of criminal convictions, along with the accumulated mental and emotional trauma of incarceration and reentry. The mark of stigma is the marker of criminalization that is placed on people wherein they cannot overcome their involvement with the criminal legal system and their life outcomes are limited as a result.[38]

PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE ARCHIVE

Regarding the photography project to follow, it is important to consider the role of the traditional archive, which for the justice-involved is extremely limited. Beyond the mugshot which has been in use in the US since the 1850s, photographs of the justice-involved[39] typically included photos going to court, jail, or prison.[40] “In my view the archive functions as an evolving memory space to uncover and recover materials and a resource for both the photographer and the community,” Willis argued.[41] To that point, it is only in recent years that the sheer volume of vernacular photography created by incarcerated men and women has gained recognition as valuable “visual and haptic objects of love and belonging.”[42] The work of Nicole Fleetwood reveals how “photographs function as practices of intimacy and belonging for those imprisoned and their loved ones” and therefore is a critical emotional component in maintaining connections.[43] A response occurs naturally when one studies a photograph. There is an inevitable emotional reaction to the image. How do people who are not family or a loved one view people dressed in prison garb? Is that emotional component, in that case, an othering?

Allan Sekula created the notion of the shadow archive to challenge the one-dimensionality of the meaning derived from a photograph and the lens through which we judge what we see. He argues that shadow archive is “the general, all-inclusive archive necessarily contains both the traces of the visible bodies of heroes, leaders, moral exemplars, celebrities, and those of the poor, the diseased, the insane, the criminal, the nonwhite, the female, and all other embodiments of the unworthy.”[44] In other words, although the photograph may be physically flat, you cannot flatten its meaning, there are multiple layers of meaning within it. Leigh Raiford said it this way, “[Photos] function as visual indicators of the social and moral status of their subjects. More than this, each form, each visual territory, works to discipline its subjects and its viewers into discrete class groups, ‘provoking both ambition’ — the lookup — and ‘fear’ — the look down.”[45] And according to Frederick Douglass, the meaning can be grasped by all. He said, “As an instrument of wit, of biting satire, the picture is admitted to be unrivaled. It strikes human nature on the weakest of all its many weak sides, and upon the instant, makes the hit palpable to all beholders.”[46] Douglass goes on to say that the photograph is a social force “swaying the heart by the eye.”[47] Whose heart do we wonder photographer Zanele Muholi is swaying through her amazing work in capturing a visual history of black lesbians in South Africa, particularly at a time when discrimination and sexual violence was still widespread?[48] (Figure 4). Whose heart do we wonder photographer and multi-media artist Bayeté Ross Smith is swaying with his critically acclaimed work that directly challenges how stigma and stereotypes are read through sex, race, class based on dress. His “Taking Aim,” series asks the questions: who is considered a victim? and who is considered a threat?[49] (Figure 5). Smith’s “Our Kind of People” series pushes further and asks: what are the cultural (sex, race, and class) biases you have when you look at me?[50] (Figure 6). Further, we have to ask, who photographer Michal Chelbin is talking to in her photography of incarcerated Ukrainian women when asks: “Who is this person? Why is she dressed like this? What does it mean to be locked up? Is it a human act? Is it fair? Do we punish her with our eyes? Can we guess what a person’s crime is just by looking at her portrait? Is it human to be weak and murderous at the same time?”[51] (Figure 7) Chelbin like the others leave only a few clues. All of these photographers are using the camera to challenge the observer to see more than a single story of the photographed participant.

So, if we follow Frederick Douglass’ argument that the photograph is a social force that can sway the heart by the eye, we can extrapolate that a photograph’s real work is demanding that others see not only the participant’s race, sex, gender or real or suspected criminality, but their humanity, their right to citizenship and freedom (Douglass and Civil War Soldiers), their right to be free from sexual violation and discrimination (Muholi) and their right to free of racialized law enforcement practices, hyper surveillance and murder by police (Smith). The right to a different story then the ones you create (Chelbin). Photography can be a force for social and cultural change. A force that facilitates racialized, sexualized, gendered, and criminalized people in confronting their stigmatized identities. I would also argue that photography can be a method to communicate to the observer, violator or even ally, not only the right to citizenship and human rights but the right to self-possession, the right to choose, the right to a greater story.

CONCLUSION

Weaponized stigma represents a long game social control mechanism that targets predominately young African-American men and women, but also all incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people in perpetuity. There are great costs that people may never see when they stigmatize another. Both internal and external, the costs leave a mark upon the psyche and spirit. This goal of this project is to challenge people to confront their stigma and bias and learn how and what ways we stigmatize one another, especially the formerly incarcerated. The formerly incarcerated deserve the opportunity to have a different story, particularly after we’ve survived the violence of incarceration. We deserve a story that is greater than our experiences of incarceration and ascribed criminality. We deserve the right to vote and the right not to be subject to false 911 calls, just to name to few. Photos as we have learned, have the power to sway the heart by the eye. It is my hope that this project will one day come to fruition because I want to be there when someone’s eyes light up because they’ve just encountered a deep truth: all people have tremendous capacity to do good and tremendous capacity to err, but should not lose their humanity as they navigate between the two.

The culmination of the above ideas will be presented in an exhibition September 26 — October 2, 2019, at the NYU Gallatin Gallery. For more information, visit https://wp.nyu.edu/gallatingalleries/.

FIGURES

FIGURE 1

Frederick Douglass ca. 1855

New York Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photographer unknown

https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/2001.756/

FIGURES 2 and 3

“As we found them” “As they are now”

(Virginia slave children rescued”) (“Virginia slave children rescued”)

Photographer — Peregrine F. Cooper Photographer — Peregrine F. Cooper

1864 — carte-de-visite 1864 — carte-de-visite

https://myarthistoryfarm.weebly.com/african-american-art-2014-15.html

FIGURE 4

Zanele Muholi — Photographer, Face and Phases series 2010–2011. https://aperture.org/blog/magazine-zanele-muholis-faces-%C2%9D-phases/

FIGURE 5

Bayeté Ross Smith

Bayeté Ross Smith — Photographer, “Taking Aim”. http://www.bayeterosssmith.com/takingaim/

FIGURE 6

Bayeté Ross Smith

Bayeté Ross Smith — Photographer, “Our Kind of People”. http://www.bayeterosssmith.com/our-kind-of-people/

FIGURE 7

Michal Chelbin — Photographer, “Locked” 2010, courtesy of Andrea Meislin Gallery.

Masha, Ukraine Women’s Prison, 2010

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/photo-booth/the-locked-gaze-michal-chelbins-prison-portraits

REFERENCES

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. “The Danger of Single Story.” TED Global 2009. https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.

Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Revised Edition. NY: The New Press, 2011:

Berlant, Lauren Gail. Cruel Optimism. NC: Duke University Press, 2011.

Cacho, Lisa Marie. Social Death: Racialized Rightlessness and the Criminalization of the Unprotected. NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012.

Douglass Frederick “Lectures On Pictures” eds. Stauffer, John et all. Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s Most Photographed American. NY: W.W. Norton and Company, 2015

Fleetwood, Nicole. “Marking Time.” Aperture. 230 issue, Prison Nation (Spring 2018).

— — — — . “Posing in Prison: Family Photographs, Emotional Labor and Carceral Intimacy.” Public Culture. (2015) 27 (3 (77)): 487–511.

Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punishment: The Birth of the Prison. First Vintage Book, 1979

Goffman, Erving. Stigma: Notes On The Management Of Spoiled Identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1963

Hall, Stuart, et all. Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State and Law and Order. London: Macmillan Press, 1978

Hirsch, Caroline. “The Locked Gaze: Michal Chelbin’s Prison Portraits.” The New Yorker. 15 August 2011. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/photo-booth/the-locked-gaze-michal-chelbins-prison-portraits

Keene, Danya E., Amy B. Smoyer and Kim M. Blankenship. “Stigma, Housing, and Identity after Prison.” The Sociological Review Monographs. Vol. 66(4), 2018.

Muholi, Zanele. “Faces and Phases: Conversation with Deborah Willis.” Aperture, №218, Spring 2015, 58–64.

Pager, Devah. Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration. IL: University of Chicago Press, 2007

Raiford, Leigh. “Ida B. Wells and the Shadow Archive.” In Pictures and Progress: Early Photography and the Making of African American Identity. Eds. Maurice O. Wallace and Shawn Michelle Smith. NC: Duke University Press, 2012.

Robertson, Craig. “A Documentary Regime of Verification: The emergence of the US Passport and the archival problematization of identity.” Cultural Studies. Vol. 23, №3, May 2009.

Ross Smith, Bayeté. “Taking Aim: Three Black Males.” http://www.bayeterosssmith.com/takingaim/

— — — — . “Our Kind of People Part One” http://www.bayeterosssmith.com/our-kind-of-people/

Sekula, Allan. “The Body and the Archive.” The Contest of Meaning: Critical Histories of Photography. Ed. Richard Bolton. MA: The MIT Press, 1989.

Smith, Shawn Michelle. “The Mug Shot: A Brief History. Aperture. 230 issue, Prison Nation (Spring 2018).

Tyler, Imogene. Revolting Subjects: Social Abjection and Resistance in Neoliberal Britain. London: Zed Books, 2013.

Tyler, Imogene, and Tom Slater. “Rethinking the Sociology of Stigma.” The Sociological Review Monographs. Vo. 66(4), 2018.

Wang, Jackie. Carceral Capitalism. MA: The MIT Press, 2018.

Wexler, Laura. “More Perfect Likeness: Frederick Douglass and the Image of the Nation.” In Pictures and Progress: Early Photography and the Making of African American Identity. Eds. Maurice O. Wallace and Shawn Michelle Smith. NC: Duke University Press, 2012

Willis, Deborah. “Counteracting the Stereotype: Photography in the Nineteenth Century” in Bindman, David and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. eds., The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume V: The Twentieth Century, Part 1: The Impact of Africa, 2014

— — — — . “Forum: The Black Civil War Soldier: Conflict and Citizenship. Journal of American Studies. Cambridge University Press and British Association for American Studies, 2017

— — — — . “The Idea of the Photograph.” Through a Lens Darkly. 21 February 2011. http://1world1family.me/the-idea-of-the-photograph/

Willis, Deborah and Barbara Krauthamer. Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the end of slavery. PA: Temple University Press, 2013.

NOTES

[1] Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. “The Danger of Single Story.” TED Global 2009. https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.

[2] Hall, Stuart, et all. Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State and Law and Order. London: Macmillan Press, 1978: 57–60. “secondary definers.” “Instead we want to draw attention to the more routine structure of news production to see how the media come in fact, in the ‘last instance’, to reproduce the definitions of the powerful, without being, in a simple sense, in their pay. Here we must insist on a crucial distinction between primary and secondary definers of social events. The media do not themselves autonomously create news items; rather they are ‘cued in’ to specific new topics by regular and reliable institutional sources.

[3] Willis, Deborah. “Counteracting the Stereotype: Photography in the Nineteenth Century” in Bindman, David and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. eds., The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume V: The Twentieth Century, Part 1: The Impact of Africa, 2014: 12–13.

[4] Ibid, Counteracting the Stereotype 19.

[5] Ibid, Counteracting the Stereotype.

[6] Wexler, Laura. “More Perfect Likeness: Frederick Douglass and the Image of the Nation.” In Pictures and Progress: Early Photography and the Making of African American Identity. Eds. Maurice O. Wallace and Shawn Michelle Smith. NC: Duke University Press, 2012: 19–20.

[7] Willis, Deborah. “Forum: The Black Civil War Soldier: Conflict and Citizenship. Journal of American Studies. Cambridge University Press and British Association for American Studies, 2017: 1, 5.

[8] Wexler, 24.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Douglass Frederick “Lectures On Pictures” eds. Stauffer, John et all. Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s Most Photographed American. NY: W.W. Norton and Company, 2015: 137.

[11] Wexler, 29.

[12] Willis, Deborah and Barbara Krauthamer. Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the end of slavery. PA: Temple University Press, 2013: 8.

[13] Ibid, Envisioning Emancipation 8, 17.

[14] Ibid, Envisioning Emancipation 15.

[15] Ibid, Envisioning Emancipation, 18–19.

[16] Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Revised Edition. NY: The New Press, 2011: 95. Alexander also uses the phrase “permanent second-class status” to convey the permanent loss of full citizenship as a result of an arrest and/or incarceration.

[17] Goffman, Erving. Stigma: Notes On The Management Of Spoiled Identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1963: 3.

[18] “Attribute.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 16 May 2018.

[19] The choice to use “criminal legal system” versus “criminal justice system,” is an acknowledgment that a system that hyper-targets black and brown people for arrest, conviction, incarceration, and indebtedness is not just, and “justice” has historically been absent, hindered or deferred. The choice to replace it with “legal” acknowledges the law as the primary tool of the system.

[20] Goffman, 48.

[21] Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punishment: The Birth of the Prison. First Vintage Book, 1979: 304.

[22] At the prison where I was incarcerated, women wore their clothing until 2006. The superintendent at that time had a progressive view of incarceration and she was threatened with a budget reduction if she didn’t put us in uniforms. She’d fought the central office of this issue for many years. Shortly, after we went into uniforms, she retired or was retired. Both were suggested by staff.

[23] Goffman, 49–50; 59. “We normal develop conceptions whether objectively grounded or not, as to the sphere of life-activity for which an individual’s particular stigma primarily disqualifies him.

[24] Robertson, Craig. “A Documentary Regime of Verification: The emergence of the US Passport and the archival problematization of identity.” Cultural Studies. Vol. 23, №3, May 2009: 330.

[25] Ibid., 331.

[26] Keene, Danya E., Amy B. Smoyer and Kim M. Blankenship. “Stigma, Housing, and Identity after Prison.” The Sociological Review Monographs. Vol. 66(4), 2018: 800.

[27] Hall et al, 332; 338–340; 347; Tyler, Imogene and Tom Slater. “Rethinking the Sociology of Stigma.” The Sociological Review Monographs. Vo. 66(4), 2018: 729; Tyler, Imogene. Revolting Subjects: Social Abjection and Resistance in Neoliberal Britain. London: Zed Books, 2013, 211–213.

[28] Tyler, Imogen and Tom Slater. “Rethinking the Sociology of Stigma,” 727.

[29] Wang, Jackie. Carceral Capitalism. MA: The MIT Press, 2018: 262–267.

[30] Wang, 69.

[31] Wang, 72–95.

[32] Wang, 83.

[33] Alexander, 4.

[34] Berlant, Lauren Gail. Cruel Optimism. NC: Duke University Press, 2011: 95.

[35] Cacho, Lisa Marie. Social Death: Racialized Rightlessness and the Criminalization of the Unprotected. NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012: Cacho, 6–8.

[36] Pager, Devah. Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration. IL: University of Chicago Press, 2007: 2–3.

[37] “Unfreedom” as termed by Ruthie Gilmore, means a precarious state of life, bare life, holistically threatened by external forces operating upon the post-incarcerated ensuring the destruction of their opportunity.

[38] Alexander, 180–181; Pager, 3; “Racial Disparities in Incarceration.” NACCP. “Nationwide, African American children represent 32% of children who are arrested, 42% of children who are detained, and 52% of children whose cases are judicially waived to criminal court.” Accessed 21 May 2018. http://www.naacp.org/criminal-justice-fact-sheet/

[39] The term “justice-involved,” is people first language used to describe those who have come into contact with the criminal justice system.

[40] Smith, Shawn Michelle. “The Mug Shot: A Brief History. Aperture. 230 issue, Prison Nation (Spring 2018).

[41] Willis, Deborah. “The Idea of the Photograph.” Through a Lens Darkly. 21 February 2011. http://1world1family.me/the-idea-of-the-photograph/

[42] Fleetwood, Nicole. “Marking Time.” Aperture. 230 issue, Prison Nation (Spring 2018).

[43] Fleetwood, Nicole. “Posing in Prison: Family Photographs, Emotional Labor and Carceral Intimacy.” Public Culture. (2015) 27 (3 (77)): 487–511.

[44] Sekula, Allan. “The Body and the Archive.” The Contest of Meaning: Critical Histories of Photography. Ed. Richard Bolton. MA: The MIT Press, 1989: 347

[45] Raiford, Leigh. “Ida B. Wells and the Shadow Archive.” In Pictures and Progress: Early Photography and the Making of African American Identity. Eds. Maurice O. Wallace and Shawn Michelle Smith. NC: Duke University Press, 2012: 302.

[46] Douglass,129.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Muholi, Zanele. “Faces and Phases: Conversation with Deborah Willis.” Aperture, №218, Spring 2015, 58–64. https://aperture.org/blog/magazine-zanele-muholis-faces-%C2%9D-phases/

[49] Ross Smith, Bayeté. “Taking Aim: Three Black Males.” http://www.bayeterosssmith.com/takingaim/

[50] Ross Smith, Bayeté. “Our Kind of People Part One” http://www.bayeterosssmith.com/our-kind-of-people/

[51] Hirsch, Caroline. “The Locked Gaze: Michal Chelbin’s Prison Portraits.” The New Yorker. 15 August 2011. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/photo-booth/the-locked-gaze-michal-chelbins-prison-portraits

Michelle Daniel Jones is a fourth-year doctoral student in the American Studies program at New York University.

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