Terrorizing Students: The Criminalization of Children in the US Police State

Violence has become the problem of the 21st century. This claim is indebted to W. E. B. Dubois’ much quoted notion that “The problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of color line.”[1] For Du Bois, racism was one of the most pressing problems of the time and could not be understood outside of the gross inequities of wealth, power, opportunity and access. What he did not anticipate was the degree to which the violent character of racism would come to define the 21st century on a national and global level. What he described as a ruthless ideology and attitude of racist hostility would later mutate in the new millennium into a raw display of police brutality and state terrorism, camouflaged under the guise of an alleged post-racial society.

As brutalism comes to shape every public encounter, democratic values and the ethical imagination wither under the weight of neoliberal capitalism and “post-racial” racism. Giving way to the poisonous logics of self-interest, privatization and the unfettered drive for wealth, US society reneges on the social contract and assumes the role of a punishing state. [2] Under the regime of a predatory neoliberalism, compassion and respect are viewed increasingly with contempt while the spectacle of violence titillates the multitudes and moves markets. A free-market mentality now drives and corrupts politics, destroys social protections, celebrates a hyper-competitiveness and deregulates economic activity. All human activities, practices and institutions are now subject to market principles. Public goods such as toll roads, libraries and schools are privatized as the very idea of the common good becomes an object of disdain. [3] Consequently, under such circumstances, governing principles such as equality, justice and fairness begin to disappear from the discourse of politics. As politics is…

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