Constructing a 'Black-on-Black' Violence: The Conservative Discourse

  • David Wilson University of Illinois, Department of Geography


This study examines the ascendant conservative “black-on-black violence” discourse in the United States post-1980. It focuses on the discourse’s construction of two prominent themes, black youth as culturally decimated and the crime-causative role of inner city black families. The results suggest that space was at the core of these constructions. Space was a widely used geographic fabric incorporated into the discourse as many kinds of mental spaces and maps. These maps served up realms of perception, imagination, fiction, and fantasy that helped authenticate these themes. Space was constituted as value-transmittal zones, geometric landscapes of proximities and potential interactions, past and present places of normalcy, texts of lurking villains and forces, and territories of movement and transgression. Imbued with this space, these themes were at the heart of racializing this violence, implicating black agency, black underclass culture, and black families for this.

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