A Conversation with Rakim Brooks Background: On February 26, 2012, 17 year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he was walking home to his father’s house in a community in Sanford, Florida. Unarmed, Martin was seen carrying an iced tea and a bag of Skittles candy, when 28 year-old George Zimmerman opened fire on the boy, resulting in his death. Until yesterday, under the auspices of self defence and through the protection of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, Zimmerman had not been arrested for a crime that the civil rights community insists was motivated by racial prejudice. Public outrage regarding the handling of the incident (no doubt including the decision not to arrest Zimmerman) resulted in the resignation of …
On Friday, 11 November, 2011, Nuffield College hosted a panel of scholars in the field of American politics, identity, and race, to discuss the September 2011 publication of Still a House Divided: Race and Politics in Obama’s America by Desmond S. King and Rogers M. Smith. The dialogue that ensued engaged the authors with a series of questions surrounding the book’s central thesis: despite the real progress in racial equality achieved by the 1960s civil rights legislation, the United States political institution has been caught in between two modes of conceptualizing, and enacting policy, about race— both of which have failed to close the tremendous gap in racial disparities in social and economic welfare that are a legacy of American …
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