Overpoliced and Underprotected in America
The introduction lays out the book’s key parameters. It offers a framework by which Black communities are shown to be simultaneously prone to being “overpoliced” (subject to undue surveillance, harassment, and violence from police) and “underprotected” (lacking the safety from personal and property crime that the police are nominally supposed to provide). It critically argues that studies that date America’s policing crisis to the War on Crime or War on Drugs are insufficient and that better attention must be paid to local histories of policing. In so doing, it also argues that if scholars and citizens are to understand why mass incarceration has been such a deeply racialized project from its inception, they must better understand how police departments themselves constructed regimes that punished blackness over the course of the twentieth century.
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