Spring 2014 Unit for Criticism Faculty Lecture, Lisa Cacho: "Criminalizing the Dead"
Guest Writer: Rohini S. Singh
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
[On April 21, the Unit for Criticism & Interpretive Theory hosted a Spring 2014 faculty lecture, "Criminalizing the Dead." The speaker was Lisa Cacho (Latina/o Studies, Asian American Studies) and other faculty member, Margareth Etienne (Law), responded. Below are reflections on the event from graduate student affiliate Rohini S. Singh (Communication)]
"Victims as Villains: Criminalizing the Dead"
Written by: Rohini S. Singh (Communication)
The central issue of Lisa Cacho’s talk was the differential treatment of people on the basis of race in criminal cases. Drawing on arguments developed in her award winning book, Social Death: Racialized Rightlessness and the Criminalization of the Unprotected (NYU Press, 2012), Cacho traced the troubling application of legal doctrines such as ‘stand your ground’ and self-defense in cases which featured victims of color. Through a discussion of two case studies, the 2000 murder of high school student Raul Aguirre by Armenian gang members in Los Angeles, and the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmermann in Florida, she argued that victims of color are regularly denied the status of ‘victim’ and are instead cast as the guilty parties.