Policing Black Lives

Policing Black Lives

State Violence in Canada From Slavery to the Present

Book - 2017
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"Policing Black Bodies is a timely and much-needed exposure of historical and contemporary practices of state-sanctioned violence against Black lives in Canada. This groundbreaking work dispels many prevailing myths that cast Canada as a land of benevolence and racial equality, and uncovers long-standing state practices that have restricted Black freedom. A first of its kind, Policing Black Bodies creates a framework that makes legible how anti-Blackness has influenced the construction of Canada's carceral landscape, including the development and application of numerous criminal law enforcement and border regulation practices. The book traces the historical and contemporary mobilization of anti-Blackness spanning from slavery, 19th and 20th century segregation practices, and the application of early drug and prostitution laws through to the modern era. Maynard makes visible the ongoing legacy of a demonized and devalued Blackness that is manifest today as racial profiling by police, immigration agents and social services, the over-representation of Black communities in jails and prisons, anti-Black immigration detention and deportation practices, the over-representation of Black youth in state care, the school-to-prison pipeline and gross economic inequality. Following the dictums of the Black Lives Matter movement, Policing Black Bodies adopts an intersectional lens that explores the realities of those whose lives and experiences have historically been marginalized, stigmatized, and made invisible. In addressing how state practices have impacted Black lives, the book brings from margin to centre an analysis of gender, class, sexuality, (dis)ability, citizenship and criminalization. Beyond exploring systemic racial injustice, Policing Black Bodies pushes the limits of the Black radical imagination: it delves into liberatory Black futures and urges the necessity of transformative alternatives."--
Publisher: Winnipeg, Manitoba :, Fernwood,, 2017.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781552669792
Characteristics: xii, 280 pages cm.


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Sep 11, 2020

This book takes all the outrageous instances of racism and pulls at the string that underlies them. (hint: it's racism) It's situated in a Canadian context and reveals the particular way racism shows up in Canada because it's fundamental and pervasive and unique to our history.

spl_merley Aug 20, 2019

This is book is as timely as it is necessary. It will help you to see the narratives of racism and anti-Blackness that lay not so deeply hidden beneath the systems that many of us would never otherwise question. This should be required reading for anyone who wants to confront racism in the world around them and perhaps more importantly in their own assumptions and beliefs.

Jan 15, 2019

This book should be essential reading in all high schools. It covers how blackness has been treated in Canada, from our recent history of slavery, to present institutional discrimination, and the step-by-step progression from one state to the other. Expertly researched and well written.

Jan 14, 2018

This book should be mandatory reading for ALL university programs in the social sciences and humanities. I'd even say high schools should introduce it in grades 11 or 12.


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spl_merley Aug 20, 2019

Change begins with a shift in thinking and a monumental shift in thinking is needed today to turn the tides of racism and its destructive impact in the lives of people of colour. If you have ever wanted to wrap your head around racism in Canada this book will open your eyes to the ways in which anti-Black thinking of the past continues to negatively frame the present, perpetuating harm and costing lives.

With a depth of research and historical context Maynard’s book Policing Black Lives systematically unpacks the historical foundations of anti-Black racism and traces it through into contemporary practice of Canadian political, economic and judicial systems. Once you discover the roots of concepts like the devaluing of black life and the demonizing of black bodies you can begin to see how they play out in the criminalization of blackness and the devaluing of black work. While the ways in which these concepts play out in the lives of black men is well known, Maynard illustrates the consequences of these beliefs in the lives of black women as well. Maynard also draws deft parallels between Indigenous and Black experiences of racism which illuminate the racist underpinnings of the state even further. The disproportionate representation of Black and Indigenous people experiencing violence at the hands of law enforcement, imprisonment and separation from family in the child welfare system is explained in detail and depth. A chapter on immigration and border control is titled “Of Whom We Have Too Many” reflecting the policy framework of Canadian founding father Sir John A MacDonald which barred entrance to people of colour for decades. Maynard also drives hard criticism at the deceptive ideal of modern multiculturalism which placates instead of inspiring real change.

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