Hate Crimes, Terrorism, and the Framing of White Supremacist Violence

Tue January 18th 2022, 1:00 - 2:00pm
Hate Crimes, Terrorism, and the Framing of White Supremacist Violence

In this public event, Professor Shirin Sinnar will unpack the historical roots and contemporary implications of framing racist political violence as “hate crimes” or “terrorism.” She will explain how the “hate crimes” and “terrorism” frames took hold in our politics, law, and culture, and how they supply two starkly different ways of conceptualizing and responding to white supremacist violence. She argues that the current move to reframe white supremacist violence as terrorism comes with grave risks, and that ultimately, neither frame is consistent with aspirations for racial justice. The response to white supremacist violence should begin with a critical reexamination of both frames. This talk is based on Professor Sinnar’s forthcoming article in the California Law Review.

Sinnar joined the Stanford Law faculty in 2012. Her scholarship focuses on the legal treatment of political violence, the procedural dimensions of civil rights litigation, and the role of institutions in protecting individual rights and democratic values in the national security context. In 2017, she was the co-recipient of the inaugural Mike Lewis Prize for National Security Law Scholarship for her article, "The Lost Story of Iqbal." In March 2021, she testified on anti-Asian hate violence before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.

This event is part of a year-long Ethics & Political Violence series jointly sponsored by the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society and the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). The series of seminars and public lectures features philosophers, lawyers, historians, social scientists, human rights activists, soldiers and political leaders grappling with vexing moral questions raised by uses of violence in international relations and domestic politics.