The ‘hate crime agenda’

The ‘hate crime agenda’


Written by: IRR News Team

Contributors to the IRR’s journal, Race & Class, discuss the impact of the official ‘hate crime agenda’ on racial violence and anti-racist campaigning.

On 22 May 2013, IRR researcher Jon Burnett and IRR director Liz Fekete took part in a radio discussion on KCSB 91.9 FM Santa Barbara’s ‘No Alibis’ programme. Jon Burnett discussed the issues surrounding his article, ‘Britain: racial violence and the politics of hate’, which appeared in the April 2013 edition of Race & Class (which can be downloaded for free here).

The discussion, with hosts Elizabeth Robinson and Sociology Professor Avery Gordon, traces the genesis of the UK’s ‘hate crime agenda’ to the US, wherein racism is defined as interpersonal, a question of individual pathologies predisposed to hate. In such a narrow definition, the role of the state in generating racism is written out of the picture, along with any analysis of institutional racism. Indeed, institutional racism, as defined in the landmark Macpherson Inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence, has been deemed a thing of the past, a dark chapter in Britain’s history. What Fekete and Burnett argue is that as different groups compete in the ‘hate crime agenda’ for recognition as being targets for hate – be it by ethnicity, LGBT, disability etc – the state itself appears to be neutral or part of the solution to racism. What has been lost is the recognition of the extent to which state policies inform the parameters of everyday hate.

Race & Class Radio will regularly discuss the themes of the journal on the ‘No Alibis’ programme. To listen to the discussion, click here.

Related links

Download a sound file of the discussion here

KCSB 91.9 FM Santa Barbara

Race & Class page at the Institute of Race Relations

Race & Class page at Sage Publications

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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