chapter  1
10 Pages

Laying the Foundation of Punishment Against Black Males

WithLiza Chowdhury, Rashanna Butler

While punishment of Black males is a glaring contemporary injustice in the minds of many, what remains a discursive reality is that its systematic foundation is least known. There is a great deal of literature that covers the extent to which punishment rendered to Black males in the criminal justice system is disproportionate and racial; however, there is very little literature that connects these realities to the eras of slavery and Jim Crow. We argue in this chapter that since slavery Black males have had to suffer through brutal forms of never-ending surveillance, which has inevitably led to their over policing and mass incarceration. To capture the core of our argument, we survey significant eras in which Black males were subjected to the power of the state via racialized criminal justice processes. Thus, this chapter starts by uncovering the racist legacy of slavery and then we venture into the civil rights era, the War on Drugs, and other contemporary examples of state-sanctioned surveillance and violence against Black males.