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Dr. Devonya Havis

“Stand Your Ground” Legislation and Implications for State-Sponsored Racism

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“A lot of what we participate in in the everyday doesn’t always meet with what it claims or purports to do and so we need to be critical and by critical, I don’t mean we have to criticize but we need to be conscious and honest about the effects our institutions are having, the role we are playing in those institutions and what kinds of commitments we might have to change those effects.”

Dr. Devonya Havis

In this episode, Dr. Devonya Havis describes how “Stand Your Ground” legislation, intended to safeguard our society’s most vulnerable members, has been utilized in ways that perpetuate and even exacerbate existing disparities experienced by persons of color. She discusses implicit bias, the bidirectional relationship between blackness and crime, “reasonable belief”, and how these forces combine to shape individual behavior as well as societal institutions and systems.

Devonya N. Havis is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. She has taught courses in Ethics, Contemporary Continental Philosophy, Critical Philosophy of Race, and Black Women’s thought at Boston College, Harvard University, and Virginia Union University. Her writings include “Blackness Beyond Witness” in Philosophy and Social Criticism, “‘Now, How You Sound’: Considering a Different Philosophical Praxis,” in a special issue of Hypatia entitled AInterstices: Inheriting Women of Color Feminist Philosophy, and “Discipline” in the Cambridge Foucault Lexicon. She has a longstanding concern with utilizing philosophy to enhance awareness and promote counter-oppressive practices. Her chapter, “‘Seeing Black’ through Michel Foucault’s Eyes: ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws as an Anchorage Point for State-Sponsored Racisms,” is included in Pursuing Trayvon Martin: Historical Contexts and Contemporary Manifestations of Racial Dynamics.

Interviewer: Steven Halady, PhD

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