Symposium: Dismantling Structural Inequality: Lock ups, Systemic Chokeholds, and Race-Based Policing

When Mar 23, 2018
from 08:00 AM to 04:00 PM
Where Brandeis School of Law, Room 275
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The permanence and adaptability of systemic racism is evinced throughout all levels of society in segregated schools and housing, weakened anti-discrimination laws and dilution of voting rights protection and political disempowerment.

Perhaps no other societal system underscores the devastating impact on African-Americans and other communities of color than the criminal justice system. The general prison population has increased more than four-fold since 1980; African-American males represent over a third of that total. African-Americans and Latinos comprise approximately 32 percent of the U.S. population yet make up 56 percent of all incarcerated people. Essentially, the United States is an incarceration state, as it represents 4.4 percent of the world’s population while imprisoning nearly 22 percent of the world’s prisoners.

This symposium will explore three interlocking oppressive features of the criminal justice system:

  • The societal presumption of Black criminality and violence, and how this rationalizes and reinforces a structural chokehold on African-Americans;
  • The complex systemic relationships between Black leadership, crime policy and decision-making leading to disproportionate incarceration rates for African-American males; and
  • Systemic practices from racial profiling to a flawed grand jury system that insulates unjustified violence and police misconduct from scrutiny at trial.

The symposium will engage scholars from a variety of disciplines in a wide-ranging discussion and critical analysis of the social, economic political and human implications of disproportionate incarceration and the system that drives it.

8 am-9 am: Continental Breakfast

8:45 am: Welcome and opening remarks, Professor Laura McNeal and Dean Colin Crawford

9 am-10:20 am: Panel 1: The societal presumption of Black criminality and violence, and how this rationalizes and reinforces a structural chokehold on African-Americans

Panelists: Professor Paul Butler (Georgetown), Professor Nirej Sekhon (Georgia State) and Professor Cedric Merlin Powell (Louisville)

10:20 am-10:40 am: Break

10:40 am-Noon: Panel 2: The complex relationships between Black leadership, crime policy and decision-making leading to disproportionate incarceration rates for African-American males

Panelists: Professor Anders Walker (St. Louis), Elizabeth Jones (Louisville) and Dr. Cherie Dawson (Louisville)

Noon-1:20 pm: Lunch and keynote address

1:20 pm-1:30 pm Break  

1:30 pm-2:50 pm: Panel 3: Systemic practices from racial profiling to a flawed grand jury system that insulates unjustified violence and police misconduct from scrutiny at trial

Panelists: Professor Angela Davis (American University College of Law), Dr. Laura McNeal (Louisville) and Ed Monahan (former Public Advocate of Kentucky)

2:50 pm: Closing remarks, Professor Cedric Merlin Powell (Louisville)

3 pm-4 pm: Book signing

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