The shootings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Falcon Heights, Minnesota; and Dallas, Texas last week were tragic for many reasons. Not only did seven people lose their lives, but the implicit or stated intentions by the shooters in each seem to indicate that a ‘post-racial’ egalitarian world is still outside our grasp. There are serious questions about why the police officers in Baton Rouge used the amount of force they did, why the officer in Falcon Heights had his gun drawn during what at this point seems to be just a routine traffic stop, and what provoked Micah Johnson to take his drastic actions. Whether or not the individuals involved acted with explicit racist intent, it seems clear that each situation has significant racial overtones.
All of which raise the question of how racism perpetuates itself in our society. Studies have shown that, despite the law’s nominal neutrality with regard to race, serious disparities remain (including in the field of philosophy). As these disparities cannot all be traced back to the actions of individuals in the Ku Klux Klan, Nazi party, or similarly racist groups, many race theorists have begun thinking about how race affects perception, institutional practices, and personal habits. Here are some important articles and books on these topics written in the wake of recent movements for racial justice.
- Cynthia Lee, “Making Black and Brown Lives Matter: Incorporating Race Into the Criminal Procedure Curriculum,” Louis University Law Journal, Spring 2016
- Jesper Ryberg, “Racial Profiling and Criminal Justice,” Journal of Ethics, Spring 2011
- Marte Otten, “Race Guides Attention in Visual Search,” PLoS ONE, February 2016
- Matthew Platt, “An Examination of Black Representation and the Legacy of the Voting Rights Act,” Phylon, Winter 2015
- Pursuing Trayvon Martin, ed. George Yancy and Janine Jones. Lexington Books, 2014
What are you reading?