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Trayvon Martin symposium: a link

My friends at the academic journal Theory and Event have re-issued a symposium of articles they released last year. This isn't for everyone: T&E is a journal of political theory, which can try the patience of some readers. But if you're interested in provocative and insightful early readings of this highly controversial case, you may want to check it out. Here's the link

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Robert Geroux is a political theorist.



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Thannk you very much for this link. From reading just one article, "You Shall Have the Body: On Trayvon Martin's Slaughter," it is a challenging and provocative symposium. I look forward to reading all of  these articles if I have the mental stamina!

I read the articles and while interesting I think that they elude what I see as the issue. I heard one pastor, and poster here, ask the rhetorical question that if the situation was reversed, would Trayvon have been given the benefit of the doubt and I think the answer is no. So yes, that is an issue of race but it is also an issue of the criminal justice system, to say nothing of the jail system in America. Both are in need of serious reform. 

Another thing that troubles me is that while the prosecution appears to be the hero in this instance, in many instances they really are not. Overcharging is a problem (and it was here too Murder 2???...really???). Overcharging leads many people who cannot get a defence to a lesser plea. Most criminal charges that come before criminal court are pled out (at least here).

The problem with overcharging and penalties for offences is that jails are housing far too many people; mostly minorities. Way too many jails.

I suspect that this is, at least, part of the problem.

We can have as many saguine discussions of race and broader social issues but the reality on the ground is far different and I see little appetite to reform the system. 

Instead, many in the military industrial complex, the criminal justice system play on fears and anxiety. The result is that people thing that overcharging, max sentences, and jails is the way to create a more just society.

Rod Dreher gets into the nitty-gritty of the issue of when it is reasonable to be afraid of someone you don't know in "Is Racial Profiling Ever OK?"  He considers when, if ever, is it reasonable to switch to the other side of the street.

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