A Peculiar Indifference: The Neglected Toll of Violence on Black America

Metropolitan: Holt. Sept. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781250769930. $27.99. SOC SCI
Drawing heavily on more than a century’s worth of research and statistical documentation, Pulitzer Prize finalist Currie (criminology, law, and society, Univ. of California, Irvine; Crime and Punishment in America) lays out the dimensions and impacts of violence on Black communities, surveys key researchers’ explanations for this violence, and proposes a series of national remedies. Currie keeps his focus on the systemic basis for Black oppression in the United States, describing a “scheme of both formal and informal domination deliberately designed to cement a rigid structure of privilege” for white Americans, with the enforcement of this scheme “the ever-present threat of both private and state violence,” and proposing systemic remedies to deal with this systemic oppression. Unfortunately, Currie does not address how policymakers might be convinced to implement his remedies, nor does he interrogate the deep racial hatred that underlies white Americans’ “peculiar indifference” toward Black suffering, and that sustains and nurtures that suffering.
VERDICT Recommend to readers interested in statistics and research on the extent and impacts of violence in Black communities. Supplement with work by James Baldwin or Frank Wilderson III to understand the basis and support for systemic racism.
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