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Title: Confronting the Hidden America: What the Shooting of Mike Brown Reveals About American Society
Authors: Warren, Daphnée
Advisors: Scheppele, Kim Lane
Department: Sociology
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: The recent death of Michael Brown was a tragedy that hit home for many American citizens. But why was he the young black person to spark the Black Lives Matter movement? And why was St. Louis, Missouri the setting for the eruption of this movement? News coverage has not adequately addressed these questions, focusing instead on Brown's character and on attempting to discern what exactly transpired on August 9th, 2014, as though minute details about Brown and the sequence of events of that day justify his shooting. Meanwhile, scholars too often focus on police practices in particular, fostering the impression that police reform is the most important solution to race problems in the United States. This thesis, however, addresses these questions of WHY Mike Brown and WHY St. Louis, honing in on what this case reveals about the broader American society. Thereby, I work to locate his shooting within a geography and a history that put both the event and the reaction into better context. Despite some scharlars' claims that American apartheid is waning,1 I assert that Brown's death illuminates the presence of extreme structural racism in the St. Louis area. For these reasons, St. Louis was overdetermined for the eruption of this massive movement. Through close examination of the history of public policies in the St. Louis area and by conducting in-depth interviews detailing personal motivations for involvement in the BLM movement following Brown's death, this work sheds new light on the neglected issue of the negative lingering impacts of segregation by both race and class in 21st century America. \(^{1}\)Farley and Krysan (2011) "The Waning of American Apartheid?"; Cutler, Glaeser, and Vigdor (1999) "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto."
Extent: 143 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Sociology, 1954-2016

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