Police Violence Maintaining the Status Quo
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Both historically and in contemporary times, police violence against African American social movements has received attention by the media sparking controversy amid the African American community and American society writ large. In the 1960s, non-violent movements such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) challenged the discriminatory White social order through peaceful demonstrations but were met with severely militarized, excessive, and intentional police violence. Presently, the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) has mobilized to fight against institutionalized racial discrimination consequently becoming victims of police violence similar to their predecessors. By examining police violence against the SNCC and the SCLC in the 1960s, as well as instances of police violence against BLM, I posit that police violence and excessive policing is utilized as a form of social control to maintain White hegemonic control. I will demonstrate that through operationalization of the white racial frame, the dominant society deploys police intervention and violence in order to maintain a system of oppression. This research is guided by the following research questions: 1) What are the similarities and differences between police violence against the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s and police violence against the Black Lives Matter movement in the present decade? 2) To what extent is police violence utilized as a mechanism of oppression to perpetuate the oppression of Black Americans? 3) What racialized stereotypes, images and narratives were used to rationalize police violence against Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Black Lives Matter movements? By studying violence as a form of control we can stop a barbaric and outdated social practice, and move towards a more equal and just society.
Guzman, Jose L. (2016). Police Violence Maintaining the Status Quo. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from