This paper examines how the systems of power of neoliberalism, scientific racism, and mass incarceration intersect to construct and uphold the image of “black criminality” and “blackness as a risk” to society. Risk assessments used to determine prison sentencing exemplify this phenomenon. Histories of deliberate associations between blackness and criminality--through science, media, political rhetoric, and economic systems--create a field in which risk assessment is widely regarded as a useful and scientifically neutral tool in mass incarceration. Particular scientific, economic, and carceral circumstances culminating in the 21st century collude to elevate risk assessments into one aspect of a big data apparatus endowed with the capacity to predict and control future behaviors. The paper suggests future directions for scientific research to promote racial justice in the context of mass incarceration.
Sailors, Olivia C.
"At the Nexus of Neoliberalism, Mass Incarceration, and Scientific Racism: the Conflation of Blackness with Risk in the 21st century,"
Tapestries: Interwoven voices of local and global identities: Vol. 9
, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/tapestries/vol9/iss1/7
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