"Losing the Movement" Black Women, Violence and Prison Nation

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Maysie Maysie's picture
"Losing the Movement" Black Women, Violence and Prison Nation


Maysie Maysie's picture

From Racialicious, re the book Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America's Prison Nation by Dr. Beth Richie


... the "success" of the anti-violence against women and girls' movement in passing legislation and gaining public legitimacy was in large part due to the increasingly conservative political climate that was emerging in a parallel way. That conservative political climate emphasized a "law -and-order" and "tough-on-crime" approach to addressing social problems.

Beth pointed out in her talk that many activists within the anti-violence movement (particularly women of color and queer people) spoke out about the fact that increasing criminalization would adversely affect certain populations. Their voices, however, did not win the day.


One of the invaluable contributions of Beth's work in Arrested Justice is that she theorizes a "violence matrix." The "violence matrix" offers a black -feminist analysis of male and state violence. I think that this will be very useful to those of us who want to first understand and then eradicate violence against black women and girls. The matrix can help all of us to make better sense of how violence can play out in black women's lives in multiple contexts.

Below I am sharing a chart that Beth made available to us during her talk on Thursday which lays out the concept of the "violence matrix." If you use it or re-post it, please make sure that it is properly cited and credited. Also, you can find a detailed explanation and analysis of the "violence matrix" in chapter 5 of Arrested Justice. I wish that I had more time to delve more deeply into Beth's argument and into the book but alas work calls. I encourage anyone with an interest in anti-violence work, the Prison Industrial Complex, feminism, racism, and women's issues to read this book.



Do you think that's true for Canada, Maysie (the first two cited paras above)?


Maysie Maysie's picture

Yes it's true for Canada.