Race and Violence Scholarly Edition uri icon



  • White-supremacist violence; theft of land and resources; the genocide of indigenous peoples and the horrors of violence of stolen and enslaved human beings to build wealth for their colonial overlords, countries, and empires in the United States, the Caribbean, and the Americas; and xenophobic and racialized exploitations of labor produced by people of color are core aspects of US history. The issues, spectacles, histories, and lived experiences of race, racism, and racial, gender, and sexual violence drive the structural oppression of nonwhite communities in the United States and have unique trajectories while also developing unevenly and relationally within shared histories of racial, gender, and sexual violence and economic exploitation. Violence toward people of color started with first contact between European colonizing forces and indigenous communities in the late 15th century. From the late 15th century to the 21st century, the spectacles of lynching; vigilantism; Jim Crow / Juan Crow segregation practices; the imposition of boarding schools and the documented physical, psychological, and sexual violence inflicted on indigenous children; and the extreme anti-Chinese violence of vigilante race riots and xenophobic immigration laws are all legacies continuing into the 2020s. In the 20th century, a range of organized systems and acts of violence continued and emerged, from white-supremacist and patriarchal authority on communities of color; race riots; lynching; massacres; and unlawful imprisonments to the 1943 zoot suit riots, deportation, other acts of state-driven violence, and the rise of mass incarceration. Acts of domestic terrorism by white-supremacist individuals who see Latinx, Muslims, Jews, and other non-Anglo-Saxon communities as threats and invaders to the US body politic are a central feature of the 21st century. Along with vigilante violence toward communities of color, police brutality and deadly force with impunity continue to traumatize communities of color and foments the racial biopower politics of the 21st century, not to mention the ongoing crisis of domestic and gender-driven violence. This article summarizes a range of sources that speak both to empire- and state-driven and vigilante violence in different time frames toward varying communities in the United States and beyond.

publication date

  • July 29, 2020

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • February 22, 2023 6:29 AM

Full Author List

  • Aldama A; Malaver L; O'Neal S; Portillos AB

author count

  • 4

Other Profiles