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1:00 PM to 2:15 PM

Suspicious Minds: Exploring the Causes and Consequences of Suspicion

Registration is required before the event date:

“Hey, we've had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there's a real suspicious guy… this guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining, and he's just walking around, looking about.”

Those were the words spoken by George Zimmerman in his call to 911, in which his incorrect labelling of Trayvon Martin as “suspicious” ended in his untimely death. Like Zimmerman, members of the public all too frequently deem people of color as suspicious and promptly call the police. Yet, far too often we hear how these suspicions are completely unfounded. What happens when these notions of who is suspicious penetrate the criminal justice system? This interactive session attempts to get to the bottom of these difficult questions. Using sociological analysis, we will examine the historical and racist backdrop from which “suspicions” arise and examine how all of us are exposed to ideology that reinforces these beliefs. To do this, we will discuss vignettes and examples from multiple media sources, and look carefully at individual cases.

Presenter: Faye Allard, Ph.D., associate professor, Social Science

This session counts toward the Diversity Certificate.