Race, crime, the law and civil unrest - Race Conflict and Change Week 8
by Alana Lentin, Associate Professor in Cultural and Social Analysis at University of Western Sydney on Nov 20, 2011
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The perceived threat to Britain and corresponding moral panic about immigrants and the racial ‘other’ has often been constructed in terms of law and order, and particularly ‘black ...
The perceived threat to Britain and corresponding moral panic about immigrants and the racial ‘other’ has often been constructed in terms of law and order, and particularly ‘black criminality’. In this Week we will focus on the relationship between ‘race, the law, crime and civil unrest. We will examine the relationship between race, crime and social, political and economic inequality or exclusion, how racial ‘other’ has been constructed and represented as a threat to law and order, how ‘black criminality’ has been constructed and represented, how the state and the police have dealt with black populations in terms of law, order and crime, and how this has affected race relations in Britain. We will also examine the various race riots which occurred in the 1960s-1980s and explore how these relate to the question of racial, social, political and economic inequality, exclusion, oppression and conflict, particularly with the State and police, and how these were constructed not as cases of political protest or unrest but as an extension of the same phenomenon of ‘black criminality’. This backdrop will help us understand the present-day racialization of crime, violence and, most notably terrorism. We will look at how two areas – so-called ‘black-on-black’ gun crime and ‘Islamic terrorism’ are currently affecting the way in which threat is constructed. Specifically, we shall examine how these perceptions are institutionalized and turned into law resulting in a host of measures that impact on the civil liberties of everyone living in Britain.
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