Black Nihilism and the Politics of Hope

Calvin Warren

“This essay argues that the logic of the Political—linear temporality, bio-political futurity, perfection, betterment, and redress—sustain black suffering. Progress and perfection are worked through the pained black body and any recourse to the Political and its discourse of hope will ultimately reproduce the very metaphysical structures of violence that pulverize black being.

This piece attempts to rescue black nihilism from discursive and intellectual obliteration; rather than thinking about black nihilism as a set of pathologies in need of treatment, this essay considers black nihilism a necessary philosophical posture capable of unraveling the Political and its devastating logic of political hope. Black nihilism resists emancipatory rhetoric that assumes it is possible to purge the Political of anti-black violence and advances political apostasy as the only ‘ethical’ response to black suffering.”