The MIX at Mason’s Fairfax Campus held a capacity crowd on Tuesday, February 13, with students, faculty and staff alike gathered to hear cutting-edge research on the timely topics of race, policing, and justice in the United States.
Angela Hattery is the director of and a faculty member in Mason’s Women and Gender Studies Program, and Earl Smith is a faculty member emeritus in sociology and ethnic studies, Wake Forest University. Their book, “Policing Black Bodies: How Black Lives are Surveilled and How to Work for Change,” published this year, takes a deep look into systematic racism, examining interlinked societal indignities confronting Black individuals, including the school-to-prison pipeline, the prison industrial system, mass incarceration, and exonerated police killings of unarmed Black men. The book extends its consideration to issues involving women’s and trans bodies, as well, and offers a thoughtful section on policy options to affect change.
Devon Johnson, faculty member in Mason’s Department of Criminology, Law and Society, is the co-editor of “Deadly Injustice: Trayvon Martin, Race, and the Criminal Justice System.” This collection of research from sociologists, criminologists, and legal and political scholars uses the murder of Trayvon Martin and the trial (and acquittal) of his assailant, George Zimmerman, as a starting point for the exploration of the intersection of race and the criminal justice system, encompassing laws, enforcement, incarceration, and how race influences Americans’ perceptions of criminality.
Hattery, Smith, and Johnson took part in a thought-provoking dialogue about their work, moderated by Wendi Manuel-Scott, faculty member in the School of Integrative Studies. The attentive audience engaged the panel with questions about research bias, the complicated nature of the issues involved in their work, the difficulty of reaching solutions, and the need for continued understanding and empathy.
“The crowd, the number of people who wanted to make comments, and the comments made are a clear indicator that we need many more conversations like this on campus, in our classes, and in our families and communities,” said Hattery. “I hope Mason will take advantage of its diversity of experiences and expertise to facilitate many more of these kinds of events.”
Following the panel discussion, the authors continued conversations with attendees and signed copies of their books.
February 21, 2018