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2010 - 95th Annual Convention Words: 233 words || 
1. Muhammad, Khalil. "Getting Tough on Crime and the End of White Criminality in the Age of Jim Crow" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, <Not Available>. 2020-02-29 <>
Publication Type: Invited Paper
Abstract: This project looks explicitly at how important political and cultural shifts in ideas and practices pertaining to native-born white and European criminality transformed black male criminality, beginning in the Prohibition-era urban North. Numerous historians have examined broadly the connection between racism and brutal southern criminal justice practices through studies on lynching, convict leasing, and prison farms. In these studies, southern whites are the villainous agents of justice in the name of white supremacy, while blacks are the victimized criminals. But what did the situation look like simultaneously in New York or Chicago, where 8 out of 10 criminals and prisoners were white? How was it explained and how was it understood in racial terms?

Disappearing Acts looks closely at discursive practices, popular media portrayals of race and crime, and major shifts in criminal justice practices during a moment that I call the New Dealization of white criminality. Borrowing Ira Katznelson’s recent formulation that the New Deal’s social welfare programs “though seemingly race neutral, functioned as a commanding instrument of white privilege”—what he calls “affirmative action for whites”— I argue also took place in the realm of late 1920s and 1930s criminal justice reform. As my initial research suggests the period shaped by Prohibition and the Great Depression was the beginning of the end of white (ethnic) criminality as a culturally- and politically-rich signifier of crime in the urban North.

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