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School of Politics and International Relations

The Daniel Kato Memorial Lecture

When: Thursday, October 19, 2023, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Where: Arts Two Lecture Theatre, QMUL, Mile End Road, E1 4NS, Mile End Campus

Speaker: Professor Naomi Murakawa

Say Their Names, Support Their Killers: Police Reform After the 2020 Black Lives Matter Uprisings

The School of Politics and International Relations presents the first Kato Memorial Lecture.

Since the unprecedented Summer 2020 uprisings against policing and racism, many elites have embraced an “anti-woke” politics that openly celebrates law-and-order authoritarianism and white nationalism. This Article attends to a different but reinforcing response to the George Floyd uprisings. By casting a selective spotlight on certain Black victims, as well as pro-police Black mayors and police chiefs, reformers have marketed pro-police and pro-Black policies as one and the same. Lawmakers have enacted reforms named in honor of Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Emmett Till, and other victims of state and extralegal violence, all while protecting police funding and deferring to police interests. In sum, these reformers use gestures of mourning and respect for Black people to refurbish the system that kills them. This lecture suggests that pro-Black, pro-carceral advocates deploy newer leftist rhetoric about centering the most marginalized to support an old politics of centering the crime victim. In short, many elites are attempting to reduce Black Lives Matter to a victim rights campaign.

Naomi Murakawa is associate professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. 

Drinks and Canapés will be served at the reception.

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