Delving behind Canada’s veneer of multiculturalism and tolerance, Policing Black Lives traces the violent realities of anti-blackness from the slave ships to prisons, classrooms and beyond. Robyn Maynard provides readers with the first comprehensive account of nearly four hundred years of state-sanctioned surveillance, criminalization and punishment of Black lives in Canada.
While highlighting the ubiquity of Black resistance, Policing Black Lives traces the still-living legacy of slavery across multiple institutions, shedding light on the state’s role in perpetuating contemporary Black poverty and unemployment, racial profiling, law enforcement violence, incarceration, immigration detention, deportation, exploitative migrant labour practices, disproportionate child removal and low graduation rates.
Emerging from a critical race feminist framework that insists that all Black lives matter, Maynard’s intersectional approach to anti-Black racism addresses the unique and understudied impacts of state violence as it is experienced by Black women, Black people with disabilities, as well as queer, trans, and undocumented Black communities.
A call-to-action, Policing Black Lives urges readers to work toward dismantling structures of racial domination and re-imagining a more just society.
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Robyn Maynard is a Black feminist writer, grassroots community organizer and intellectual based in Montréal. Her work has appeared in the Toronto Star, the Montréal Gazette, World Policy Journal and Canadian Women Studies Journal.
Published: December 2019
Originally published by Fernwood Publishing
“Grounded in an impressive and expansive treatment of Black Canadian history, Maynard has written a powerful account of state anti-Black violence in Canada. Empirically rich and theoretically nimble, this work is an outstanding contribution to Black Canadian Studies.” — Barrington Walker, Queen’s University
“To understand this moment in Canada when Black communities are asserting that Black Lives really do matter, readers need this book.” — Sylvia D. Hamilton
“Timely, urgent, and cogent…brilliantly elucidates the grotesque anti-Black racist practices coming from the state, and other institutions imbued with power over Black people’s lives.” — Afua Cooper
“Robyn Maynard’s meticulously-researched and compelling analysis of state violence challenges prevailing narratives of Canadian multiculturalism and inclusion by examining how structures of racism and ideologies of gender are complexly anchored in global histories of colonization and slavery. This book should be read not only by those who have a specific interest in Canadian histories and social justice movements but by anyone interested in the abolitionist and revolutionary potential of the Black Lives Matters movement more broadly.” — Angela Y. Davis
“Thanks, Robyn Maynard, for opening all of our eyes to a scary history and frightening present for Black Canada.” — Patrisse Cullors-Khan, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network