Killing African Americans examines the pervasive, disproportionate, and persistent police and vigilante killings of African Americans in the United States as a racial control mechanism that sustains the racial control system of systemic racism. Noel A. Cazenave’s well-researched and conceptualized historical sociological study is one of the first books to focus exclusively on those killings and to treat them as political violence. Few issues have received as much conventional and social media attention in the United States over the past few years or have, for decades now, sparked so many protests and so often strained race relations to a near breaking point. Because of both its timely and its enduring relevance, Killing African Americans can reach a large audience composed not only of students and scholars, but also of Movement for Black Lives activists, politicians, public policy analysts, concerned police officers and other criminal justice professionals, and anyone else eager to better understand this American nightmare and its solutions from a progressive and informed African American perspective.
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgments. Chapter 1 The Police and Vigilante Killings of African Americans in the Twenty-First Century. Chapter 2 Making Sense of the Killings: Theoretical Insights, Conceptual Framework, and My Racial Control Argument. Chapter 3 Violence-Centered Racial Control Systems and Mechanisms in U.S. History. Chapter 4 Police and Vigilante Killings of African Americans as a Racial Control Mechanism. Chapter 5 Viewing the Killings Through an Economic Lens: Hypercapitalism and the Growth of the American Police State. Chapter 6 Ground Zero: The Vicious Cycle of Fatal Dominative Encounters. Chapter 7 Making Black Lives Matter: Lessons Learned and Unfinished Business.
Noel A. Cazenave is Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut (UConn). He is also on the faculty of the Urban and Community Studies program of UConn’s Hartford campus and is a faculty affiliate with UConn's Africana Studies Institute and its American Studies Program. His recent and current work is in the areas of: racism theory, U.S. poverty policy, political sociology, urban sociology, criminal justice, and the sociology of emotions. In addition to numerous journal articles, book chapters, and other publications, Professor Cazenave co-authored Welfare Racism: Playing the Race Card against America’s Poor, which won five book awards, and has since then published Impossible Democracy: The Unlikely Success of the War on Poverty Community Action Programs, The Urban Racial State: Managing Race Relations in American Cities, and Conceptualizing Racism: Breaking the Chains of Racially Accommodative Language. His current book project is tentatively titled The Courage to Be Kind.
Noel Cazenave’s book provides a disturbing but enlightening and insightful analysis of racial repression in 21st century America. The book is well grounded in academic literature and the history of racial violence, but without losing focus on the current era in which media and political leaders, including the president of the United States, contribute to a racist culture that infects our criminal justice system and other institutions. This culture dehumanizes and criminalizes young black males and enables, encourages, and normalizes both vigilante and police violence. Killing African Americans is a must read for anyone interested in understanding this persistent problem of state-sanctioned police violence.
Carter A. Wilson, Ph.D., Professor and Department Head of Political Science and Public Administration, Northern Michigan University