Critical Race Theory

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Link – Media

The media is run the ‘Identities’ that are in power – Black identities are there for painted as lacking and ‘inferior’

APA 8 (American Psychological Association—leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States, Commemorating Brown: the Social Psychology of Racism and Discrimination Washington, DC 2008, page 46, cayla_)

These processes highlight the ways in which social representations define the “right” answers to the “who am I” and “who are we” questions. Social representations are seen and understood through the eyes of the groups to which people belong. As a result, people in groups calibrate or attune their thoughts about their identities through social discourse, not individual contemplation (Wagner, 1997). Cultural practices and institutions, like career days and schools, provide discourses for imagining possible selves, and these discourses vary depending on the individual’s social identities. Moreover, the quantity and quality of social representations available to various groups are not arbitrary. The group that defines who is seen and what is good is often the group in power. In the United States, this group is what Spindler and Spindler (1990) called the referent ethniclass. Its members have control over institutions like the media and the legal system, and subsequently they have control over the quantity and quality of available representations of various groups. As a result, the group in power is often associated with what is good, whereas the less powerful groups are associated with what is less good or are rendered invisible. When these groups develop possible selves, the good is seen as “not me,” and the “me” is left either to vie for the remaining identities (Oyserman, Fryberg, & Yoder, 2006) or with no identities at all—they are invisible. Being invisible in a given domain poses threats to a sense of belonging and to opportunities for elaborating possible selves. Although numerous identities exist in the world- and although we may prefer to see young boys like Mark, Matt, and Michael as having abundant identity choices—self-relevant information is qualified by the number and the meaning of social representations that are available for each boy’s particular social identity. These representations, deemed relevant through social identity filters, prescribe the boys’ likely life paths in ways that are clear both to themselves and to others in their environments. A social representational approach highlights the ways in which the available representations of social identities support or limit future possible selves. Although individuals must contend with the representations that both are and are not associated with their groups, the focus here is on how the “not me” is communicated.

Link – Militarization of Law Enforcement

SWAT Teams have taken over black neighborhoods for drug criminalization

Alexander 10 (Michelle associate professor of law at Ohio State University, a civil rights advocate and a writer “The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness” New York: The New Press. 2010 , cayla_)
Even in small towns, such as those in Dodge County, Wisconsin, SWAT teams treat routine searches for narcotics as a major battlefront in the drug war. In Dodge County, police raided the mobile home of Scott Bryant in April 1995, after finding traces of marijuana in his garbage. Moments after busting into the mobile home, police shot Bryant—who was unarmed— killing him. Bryant's eight-year-old son was asleep in the next room and watched his father die while waiting for an ambulance. The district attorney theorized that the shooter's hand had clenched in "sympathetic physical reaction" as his other hand reached for handcuffs. A spokesman for the Beretta company called this unlikely because the gun's double-action trigger was designed to prevent unintentional firing. The Dodge County sheriff compared the shooting to a hunting accident.45 SWAT raids have not been limited to homes, apartment buildings, or public housing projects. Public high schools have been invaded by SWAT teams in search of drugs. In November 2003, for example, police raided Stratford High School in Goose Creek, South Carolina. The raid was recorded by the school's surveillance cameras as well as a police camera. The tapes show students as young as fourteen forced to the ground in handcuffs as officers in SWAT team uniforms and bulletproof vests aim guns at their heads and lead a drugsniffing dog to tear through their book bags. The raid was initiated by the school's principal, who was suspicious that a single student might be dealing marijuana. No drugs or weapons were found during the raid and no charges were filed. Nearly all of the students searched and seized were students of color. The transformation from "community policing" to "military policing," began in 1981, when President Reagan persuaded Congress to pass the Military Cooperation with Law Enforcement Act, which encouraged the military to give local, state, and federal police access to military bases, intelligence, research, weaponry, and other equipment for drug interdiction. That legislation carved a huge exception to the Posse Comitatus Act, the Civil War—era law prohibiting the use of the military for civilian policing. It was followed by Reagan's National Security Decision Directive, which declared drugs a threat to U.S. national security, and provided for yet more cooperation between local, state, and federal law enforcement. In the years that followed, Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton enthusiastically embraced the drug war and increased the transfer of military equipment, technology, and training to local law enforcement, contingent, of course, on the willingness of agencies to prioritize drug-law enforcement and concentrate resources on arrests for illegal drugs. The incentives program worked. Drug arrests skyrocketed, as SWAT teams swept through urban housing projects, highway patrol agencies organized drug interdiction units on the freeways, and stop-and-frisk programs were set loose on the streets. Generally, the financial incentives offered to local law enforcement to pump up their drug arrests have not been well publicized, leading the average person to conclude reasonably (but mistakenly) that when their local police departments report that drug arrests have doubled or tripled in a short period of time, the arrests reflect a surge in illegal drug activity, rather than an infusion of money and an intensified enforcement effort.

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