Friday, November 27, 2020

Violence as "isolated" or "emblematic"

In "Insurgent Empire", Priyamvada Gopal contrasts British and Indian interpretations of the British Army's 1919 massacre of 379 people in Amritsar, Punjab. While the British saw the actions of the commanding officer, General Dyer, as "isolated", for Indians, it was "emblematic of deep structural racism and endemic colonial brutality." This contrast in interpretations of violence between an "isolated" act of an individual and a more "emblematic" perspective comes up in the United States today in responses to any violence that might be considered "terrorist", with white murderers seen as "lone wolves" who might have mental illnesses and non-white murderers as representatives of a threat posed by their entire race or religion. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 27 November)

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