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“Tragic but not Criminal: Challenging the ‘Objective Reasonableness’ of Police Killings” with Lisa Cacho

When Jan 31, 2019
from 06:00 PM to 07:30 PM
Where 118 Lewis Katz Building, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802
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This presentation examines how police killings are racialized and gendered by focusing on the ways in which violence against women, girls, and gender non-conforming people of color are rarely represented as a crime. While race renders criminality legible and recognizable, criminality adheres to the bodies of women, girls, and gender non-conforming people of color differently, which makes their experiences with the criminal justice system less intelligible. White criminal defendants, like George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn, have rights that are respected. Police officers, like Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo, have protections and immunities. Men of color victims, like Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown, are legible as posthumously deserving (the pretense of) justice. But women like CeCe McDonald, Rekia Boyd, Jessie Hernandez, and Sarah Lee Circle Bear are never represented as entitled to any of these—rights, protections, or justice. For instance, McDonald is seen as a criminal (as in a person already condemned and convicted), but she was never treated as a criminal defendant (as in a person still legally innocent and technically rights-bearing). Her case is not an anomaly. Women, girls, and gender nonconforming people of color are excluded from participating in even the pretense of justice. As such, centering their cases exposes the ways in which the logic of “objective reasonableness,” which justifies police killings, is in itself highly gendered and therefore far from “objective” and “reasonable.”

This event is free and open to the public.

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Department of African American Studies, The Pennsylvania State University
133 Willard Building, University Park, PA 16802
Ph: 814-863-4243 | Fax: 814-863-3578 | Email: afam@psu.edu