Citations Needed podcast

Ep 142: The Summer of Anti-BLM Backlash and How Concepts of "Crime" Were Shaped By the Propertied Class

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"Concerns rising inside White House over surge in violent crime," CNN tells us. "America's Crime Surge: Why Violence Is Rising, And Solutions To Fix It," proclaims NPR. "Officials worry the rise in violent crime portends a bloody summer," reports The Washington Post.   Over and over this summer we have heard – and will no doubt continue to hear – the scourge of rising crime is the most urgent issue on voters' minds. Setting aside the way media coverage itself shape public opinion, the rising murder rates in urban areas is indeed very real and its victims disproportionately Black and Latino.   In response, like clockwork, Democrats and Democratic Party-aligned media have allied with conservatives and right-wing media are rehashing the same tired responses: more police, longer sentences, and tougher laws. But this time, they assure us it will be different: it won’t be racist and overly punitive. Instead, in addition to the return of 1990s Tough On Crime formula. we will get enough nebulous reforms and anti-bias training that it will somehow be enlightened and consistent with the demands of Black Lives Matter.   But everything we know about the past 50 years tells us this will not be true. Indeed, if more policing and prisons solved crime, the United States would be the safest country on Earth, but, of course, it is not. According to The American Journal of Medicine, compared to 22 other high-income nations, the United States' gun-related murder rate is 25 times higher despite imprisoning people at rates 5-10 times what other rich nations do.   So why do lawmakers and the media always reach for the same so-called "solutions" when it comes to crime? What are the assumptions that inform how we respond to an increase in homicides and other violent crime? How can the wealthiest nation in the world throw billions of dollars, more police, longer sentences, and tougher prosecutors at our high murder rates only to continue to wildly outpacing the rest of the so-called developed world on this, the most urgent of metrics?   On this episode, we explore the origins of "crime," what crimes we consider noteworthy and which are ignored, how property rights and white supremacy informed the crime we center in our media, how the crimes of poverty, environmental destruction, wage theft, and discrimination are relegated to the arena of tort, with its gentle fines and drawn out lawsuits – while petty theft and drug use results in long prison sentences. We’ll study how these bifurcations inform both media accounts of crime and how we respond with more police, and longer sentences the second we are faced with so-called crime waves.   Our guests are Civil Rights Corps' Alec Karakatsanis and sociologist Tamara K. Nopper.

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    Episode 139 - Of Meat and Men: How Beef Became Synonymous with Settler-Colonial Domination

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    "Beef. It’s what’s for dinner," the baritone voices of actors Robert Mitchum and Sam Elliott told us in the 1990s. "We’re not gonna let Joe Biden and Kamala Harris cut America’s meat!" cried Mike Pence during a speech in Iowa last year. "To meet the Biden Green New Deal targets, America has to, get this, America has to stop eating meat," lamented Donald Trump adviser Larry Kudlow on Fox Business. Repeatedly, we’re reminded that red meat is the lifeblood of American culture, a hallmark of masculine power.   This association has lingered for well over a century. Starting in the late 1800s, as white settlers expropriated Indigenous land killing Native people and wildlife in pursuit of westward expansion across North America, the development and promotion of cattle ranching — and its product: meat — was purposefully imbued with the symbolism of dominance, aggression, and of course, manliness.   There’s an associated animating force behind this messaging as well: the perception of waning masculinity in our settler-colonial society. Whether a reaction to the closure of the American West as a tameable frontier in the late 19th century or to the contemporary Right's imagined threats of "soy boys" and a U.S. military that has supposedly gone soft under liberal command, the need to affirm a cowboy sense of manliness, defined and expressed through violence and domination, continues to take the form of consuming meat.   On this episode, we study the origins of the cultural link between meat eating and masculinity in settler-colonial North America; how this has persisted into the present day via right-wing charlatans like Jordan Peterson, Josh Hawley and Tucker Carlson who panic over the decline of masculinity; and the social and political costs of the maintenance and preservation of Western notions of manliness.   Our guest is history professor and author Kristin Hoganson.

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