The four stages of moral panic
in I Refuse to Condemn
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Charting the response by authorities since the 2011 ‘riots’ following the killing of Mark Duggan, Adam Elliott-Cooper assesses the ways in which Black lives and culture have been pathologised as potentially dangerous through the policing of the Nottingham Hill Carnival and drill music. The chapter takes influence from Stuart Hall’s notion of ‘moral panic’ in his 1978 book Policing the Crisis in relation to what was then presented as a specific problem of ‘mugging’ within Black communities by presenting the four stages of moral panic. Taking the reader on a journey through the way the media, politicians and the general public have responded to drill music, the chapter goes through their shock, anger, sadness and finally acceptance of the cost that must be borne by Black communities through increased profiling and policing. While Elliott-Cooper is a scholar resisting racism, he simultaneously cannot escape its violence as he demonstrates how he is expected to condemn his own communities in the process of calling for alternative ways of understanding cultural forms of expression. Although providing a critique of public policy and the development of what the author calls public safety racism, it also operates as an important autho-ethnographic account of the complex ways in which racism operates in the UK.

I Refuse to Condemn

Resisting racism in times of national security

Editor: Asim Qureshi

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