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Jasiri X and Rhymefest Take On “Illegal” In New Music Video

By Alyssa Rosenberg  

"Jasiri X and Rhymefest Take On “Illegal” In New Music Video"

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As a piece of political thought, I really, really like Jasiri X’s and Rhymefest’s latest track, “Who’s Illegal?”:

it’s a great explication of the work done by the word “illegal” when it’s used to describe immigrants, both in terms of how we view history, and how we judge present actions. If people are, themselves, inherently illegal, it becomes harder to judge violence done to establish and expand American borders in the past as a violation of both law and norms. And if people are illegal, the illegality of their personhood supersedes, in the imagination, illegal acts done to them by supposedly legal persons like Joe Arpaio. The idea that a person can be illegal is, of course, incoherent. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve ugly uses.

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