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The Specters of Citizenship

The Specters of Citizenship

Hate Crimes and the Fear of the Repressed

(p.31) Chapter 1 The Specters of Citizenship
Against Citizenship
Amy L. Brandzel
University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the violent maintenance of citizenship through the police state, and the uses of hate crime legislation to both name and disallow any recognition of this violence. The intervention into how we understand citizenship to be violently organized functions at two interconnected levels, that is, at the structural level of state violence, and at the social level of identity categories. At the level of the state, hate crime legislation offers us important information on how the violence of citizenship is managed, controlled, and directed. At the structural level of the state, the chapter adds to left critiques of hate crime legislation by unpacking how these laws are used to create a dangerous discontinuum, in which hate crimes are marked as individualized errors, while police brutality is systemically assuaged. By examining the machinations of hate crime legislation at these two levels, it is argued that hate crime legislation works, simultaneously, to recognize and deny: (1) the violence of citizenship; and (2) the fear that the oppressed will seek revenge and retaliate for this experience by using violence themselves.

Keywords:   normative citizenship, hate crime legislation, police state, state violence, social identity, police brutality

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