Four students in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs have been named as recipients of the 2021 Boren Fellowship. The fellowship, sponsored by the National Security Education Program, funds immersive foreign language study abroad experiences for graduate students…
‘The Metaphysics of American Urban Violence’
Danielle Smith, professor of African American studies in the College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Renée Crown University Honors Program, wrote an op-ed for LA Progressive titled “The Metaphysics of American Urban Violence.”
Smith, who studies issues of social justice and post-conflict reconstruction, explains that a variety of factors contribute to urban violence. Individual, societal, economic and environmental aspects can all act as causes of violence in urban spaces, which has been demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent social justice movements.
In addition to everyday contributors, Smith argues in the piece that systemic racism is a necessary component influencing high levels of violence in urban spaces. “Institutional and systemic racism, experienced during early critical periods of a person’s life and endured throughout their life course, may be the necessary slice in the causal pathway to pulling the trigger and to the disease of urban violence,” writes Smith.
While Smith acknowledges that individuals have the autonomy to determine their own actions, society must still pay attention to the role that history plays in the present and how that affects violence. Smith believes that to best heal society’s problem with urban violence must focus on the institutional and systemic racism that is fabricated into the nation’s wiring.