This is an excerpt from an essay I’m working on that I turned in for a critical theory course last semester. The title of the essay is “Notes from a Bête Noire.” The essay in it’s entirety is part of a larger project of mine of bridging critical race studies and critical animal studies. There have been formatting changes in transcribing this on the blog (for the sake of making it more readable, aesthetically), and I’ve taken the liberty of linking works from the footnotes to virtual editions. I was working with different translations however, and so there may be differences in word choice/usage. -R
“Willie B has passed away,” they said. Atlanta enters the Twenty-First Century through mourning. A gorilla, more than twenty-nine years my senior, has died. My first conscious interaction with the death of a person, and he is a beast. His cremated remains split— eighty percent in Atlanta, and the other twenty carried by plane to Cameroon, his birthplace. The zoo bursts with people (human) who come to pay their respects, to commemorate his life, a public wake for a public animal.