History Faculty Publications and Presentations

Police Brutality and Mexican American Families in Texas, 1945–1980

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Scholarly literature on racist violence has typically focused on the experiences of young males who suffer a disproportionate share of the police violence directed at their communities. This study widens our view of the effects of racist violence by examining the experiences of the family members of these men, and particularly the wives, children, parents, and siblings. The article shows that family members often witnessed the abuse of their loved ones, endured feelings of helplessness in the face of these acts of violence, confronted threats (or worse) from these officers at the time or subsequently, and experienced firsthand the injustice of the justice system. The article builds on a recent scholarship on racist violence—primarily lynchings—that focuses on the effects of this violence on the families and communities of the victims.


© 2021 by The American Academy of Political and Social Science

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The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science