Appositio (ap-po-sit’-i-o): Addition of an adjacent, coordinate, explanatory or descriptive element.

The long night has drawn to a close. That is, the rioting, the burning, and the looting are past us. Baltimore’s fires are extinguished, the liquor stores are emptied, and most people have gone home .

While that’s true, a new day is just beginning–a day wide-open with recriminations, apologies, accusations, encomia, vituperation and every other kind of voiced interest that may have influenced judgments of what motivated last night’s unrest.

The diversity of conflicted narratives about Baltimore is not unusual. Strife is rife with difference and the vexed narratives flow from standpoints. People speak, often unconscious of being situated somewhere within the universe of deeply-cultured sensibilities–a universe with no center.

Rather, people experience, inhabit and are divided and identified  by their named ethno-centers. These “centers” are distinguished and divided by their ways of knowing, being, believing, and valuing that, ironically, are more or less opaque and unintelligible even to their inhabitants who, by imputation and avowal bear, are categorized by, and judged by their ethno-center’s name.

Yet, while there is no center, the spaces or border areas between the centers provide sites, the only sites, for enabling relationships between them.  It is what is between US–our relationship–that is negotiated and constituted when we meet and talk or fight at the ethno-categorical borders. WE are responsible for the affect of that relationship on the quality of OUR lives–not my life, not your life.

From the outside, to the inside, to the borderlands, what’s most important right now–at this time and place–is the borderland and the space it provides to constitute something good for US, and WE have the power to make it right by what we say and how we say it to each other today.  We must acknowledge this and build something good together and WE may want to name it “OUR desire for peace and justice.”

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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