Ethnic Studies Review

Ethnic Studies Review


Danae Hart

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Ethnic Studies Review



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Black Lives Matter Special Issue


As a social movement continues to grow challenging the justice system that fails to prosecute and convict police officers use of deadly force, it is crucial to note what hegemonic constructs maintain the institutional power structures that continue to harm people of color. When police officers are acquitted when they inflict deadly harm on unarmed citizens the justice system is working to maintain the power structures that devalues Black lives. When hegemonic power structures perpetuate injustice it appears necessary to challenge and deconstruct the system as a whole. Do the protest movements choose to challenge hegemony or rather seek to conform to the ideals of the justice system? I ask this question utilizing a Cultural Studies framework putting Stuart Hall, Antonio Gramsci, and Slavoj Zizek in conversation with each other in order to illuminate how activism must contend with hegemony. Activist movements do not seek to radically dismantle hegemony, but work within it in ways that reform and redefine how the concept of justice can be present in the lived realities of communities of color.