News and Commentary

WATCH: Harvard Prof Says States Might Use Stand Your Ground Laws To ‘Outsource Its Violence’ To ‘Disproportionately’ White Male Citizens

Those citizens are "disproportionately white or white-passing, disproportionately male-identified, and usually a person with some kind of property."
while man holding gun

A Harvard University professor claimed that states use “Stand Your Ground” as a way in which the state might “outsource its violence to individual citizens,” adding that they are “disproportionately white or white-passing, disproportionately male-identified, and usually a person with some kind of property,” and that the United States has been based on “different mythologies of neutrality.”

As Campus Reform reports, speaking at a virtual event titled, “Race, Guns, and the Politics of Self-Defense,” Caroline Light, the senior lecturer on women, gender, and sexuality at Harvard University, stated of “Stand Your Ground laws,” “In many ways, I see those laws, which have spread now to 33 states in some kind of version, as a way in which the state might outsource its violence to individual citizens who are marked as ‘law-abiding citizens.’”

“Now, in spite of that facially neutral invocation of the armed citizen or the law-abiding citizen, ultimately the way our law works is anything but legal or anything but neutral and objective,” Light, the author of “Stand Your Ground: A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense,” continued, as she invoked the claim that police disproportionately target people of color: “By definition, the legal system is based on essential injustices that originate with the very beginning of this nation in settler colonialist violence, in racial capitalism through chattel slavery, gender violence. So these essential exclusionary principles are baked into the legal system and the kind of justice topographies that we deal with. And we look at them today and wonder, why, why is it that police disproportionately shoot and kill people of color and indigenous people at such an alarmingly high rate, even when those people are unarmed and don’t pose an actual threat.”

Light opined that the “state violence becomes outsourced’ to people who are primarily white, male, and owners of property, saying, “What we come to find when we really look carefully is that this state violence becomes outsourced into the hands of a select set of ‘law-abiding citizen’ who is disproportionately white or white-passing, disproportionately male-identified, and usually a person with some kind of property. Guns constitute a particular powerful form of property in our nation right now. Not everyone gets to exercise their so-called Second Amendment rights equally.”

She posited that the United States has been based on “different mythologies of neutrality”: “And so our nation and its legal system are based on so many different mythologies of neutrality that I believe we’re at the core of why we see this role reversal of victim and perpetrator played out time and time again in civilian on civilian violence and police on civilian violence over and over again, and I think it has to do with the essential truths of our nation that still remain underacknowledged today.”

“My research shows a long history of powerful actors invoking ‘protection’ and ‘self-defense’ to justify violence against less powerful or subjugated communities and individuals,” Light stated. “Similar claims (of protection and/or defense) continue to be weaponized today when powerful social actors feel their status or power is threatened or challenged.”

The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.