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Racial Reconciliation and the Healing of a NationBeyond Law and Rights$
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Charles J. Ogletree and Austin Sarat

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479844630

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479844630.001.0001

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date: 22 October 2021

Weaponized Empathy

Weaponized Empathy

Emotion and the Limits of Racial Reconciliation in Policing

(p.89) 4 Weaponized Empathy
Racial Reconciliation and the Healing of a Nation

Naomi Murakawa

NYU Press

This chapter traces the history of calls for “racial reconciliation” in policing and, in so doing, identifies the potential pitfalls of current reform efforts. New proposals for “racial reconciliation” fit within an old architecture of policing reform, extending from the pursuit of stable police “race relations” in the 1950s, to healthy “police-community relations” in the late 1960s, and to proactive “community-oriented policing” of the 1990s. Tracing this post–civil rights history of racial reconciliation in policing, Naomi Murakawa identifies potential dangers that lurk within well-intentioned efforts to reconcile police and black communities through truth-telling forums and procedural justice. Murakawa concludes that the language of “racial reconciliation” demands reform but resists normative commitments, effectively translating the potentially transformative work of Black Lives Matter into a set of technocratic, proceduralist fixes with an air of emotional sensitivity.

Keywords:   Black Lives Matter, policing, police-community relations, community-oriented policing, procedural justice, racial reconciliation

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