Irons Participates in Invited Panel on Anti-Civil Rights Violence

Jenny Irons
Jenny Irons
Assistant Professor of Sociology Jenny Irons participated in an invited panel on anti-civil rights violence in the south at the Southern Political Science Association Meetings, Jan. 8-10, in New Orleans. The interdisciplinary panel brought together scholars from law, political science and sociology to discuss their work on white violence against civil rights activists and black southerners during the civil rights era.

Irons' paper, titled, "'Of Course This will be Blamed on White People': Whiteness and the Interpretation of Anti-Civil Rights Violence," explored how whiteness, as a position of privilege and a social identity, shaped how investigators for the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission interpreted major acts of violence in their behind-the-scenes investigative record.

Though the investigators had no reason to think their record would be exposed to the public eye, they still interpreted acts of violence in a general story that made the victims responsible, ignored white complicity, and diverted attention to unwanted federal intervention. In short, even as segregation was dismantled, white state authorities bolstered their sense of moral and political superiority by denying the injustices of white supremacy, even in private records.

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