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INTERRACIAL VIOLENCE AND RACIALIZED NARRATIVES: DISCOVERING THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

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Abstract:

: This article question the underlying assumptions and, therefore, potential effectiveness of Anthony Alfieri's recent essay, "Defending Racial Violence. Alfieri's proposal, in the form of an enforceable rule, would likely wind up on a collision course with principles underlying the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The article demonstrates the level of confusion that develops from rules that too easily or arbitrarily frustrate the legitimate interests of attorneys and clients in pursuing the best criminal defense. It also recommends providing carefully constructed, simulated exercises for classroom dialogue in ethics courses as a viable, alternative method for introducing a race - conscious ethic to young lawyers that does not run afoul of basic constitutional freedoms. The article disagrees with Alfieri's conclusion that "defense lawyers find scarce opportunity to contest the dominant narratives embedded in laws, institutional practices, and legal relations, even when those narratives inscribe negative racial stereotypes." The article concludes that the history and evolution of the entire system of criminal justice in this country dictates greater reliance upon mainstream prescriptions of neutrality rather than race-conscious rules and affirm that on questions concerning injury to black America's social identity, critics like Alfieri usually fail to consider just how broad the range of race-based assumptions are that ground representations of moral agency. Keywords: Racialized narratives. Criminal justice system. Race relations in the United States.

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