Diversity & Justice Speaker Series: The Lynching Era and Contemporary Police Shootings of Blacks in the South ♥
Monday, Feb 8, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
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Diversity & Justice Speaker Series
The rate of police-involved killings in the U.S. greatly exceeds that of other industrialized nations and is highly racially disproportionate. Yet, we know relatively little about the antecedents of police violence, and even less about what explains the distribution of police killings across space. Probing broad constructionist accounts of “race” that take seriously the ways racial meaning is historically embedded and geographically variable, I ask whether there is a connection between contemporary police killings in the U.S. and the country’s unique history of racial subjugation and violence.
I focus particularly on lynching era violence in the South between 1877 and 1950 during which thousands of Blacks and some Whites were killed by mob violence and theorize how this legacy of terror may cast an enduring shadow that shapes implicit biases and practices of law enforcement today. I pair lynching data with information from the Mapping Police Violence project that provides more a more complete picture of lethal police force than currently available government databases. I compare the association between lynching and lethal shootings of Blacks and Whites between 2013 and 2018, with special attention to the contemporary contexts that have the potential to facilitate or disrupt the temporal transmission of the lynching era’s legacy.
Christopher J. Lyons is Professor of Sociology at the University of New Mexico. He studies violence and social control as key drivers of urban inequality. His work attempts to better understand how social, economic, and political contexts shape disparities in community violence, and to query the explicit or subtle ways that axes of difference structure socio-legal control.
Have questions? Please reach out to the DJSS Committee:
Dr. Lee Cabatingan (email@example.com), Dr. Amanda Geller (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Juan R. Sandoval (email@example.com)