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FRIHUMSAM-Fri prosj.st. hum og sam

Legacy of Racial Violence (LEGACY)

Alternative title: Arv etter raserelatert vold (LEGACY)

Awarded: NOK 12.0 mill.

After the killing of George Floyd on the 25th of May 2020, Black Lives Matter protests swept across the world. While the killing of Black men and women by police receives the bulk of attention, there are parallel calls to address how hundreds of years of racial violence affects contemporary inequalities between and within communities. Yet, our understanding of the deep roots of inequality still lacks comprehensive data coverage, appropriate testing, and a theoretical understanding of the broad effects of past racial violence. The LEGACY project seeks to address gaps in our understanding of the long-term effects of past racial violence on contemporary communities – particularly economic, political, and health inequalities between, as well as within, Black and white communities in the United States. Of equal importance, we are interested in understanding how communities mitigate the long-term effects of racial violence. We consider the legacy of violence as being not only its direct detrimental effects but also the process by which communities address aftereffects through restorative acts. We use multiple approaches combining statistical modeling of large data sets, causal analysis, and qualitative data, ensuring a complementary approach to identify general patterns across the US as well as test why inequalities persist. In contrast to previous research, we build on a theory that maintains that violence shapes political order, leading us to expect that not only does the form and intensity of violence directly impact critical measures of well-being, but continues to influence outcomes generations later. We propose that accounting for how violence engenders both long-term deleterious outcomes and efforts to redress aftereffects offers the potential to fundamentally understand and reduce endemic and seemingly permanent inequalities across communities.

After the killing of George Floyd on 25 May 2020, Black Lives Matter protests swept across the globe. While the killing of Black men and women in the United States by police receives the bulk of attention, there have been parallel calls to address how hundreds of years of racial violence affects contemporary horizontal inequality in countries around the world. Despite calls for reform, our understanding of the deep roots of inequality lacks comprehensive data coverage, appropriate empirical tools, and a theoretical understanding of the broad effects of the legacies of racial violence. The LEGACY project seeks to address gaps in our understanding of the long-term effects of historical racial violence on contemporary communities in the United States – particularly why and how type, severity, scope, and relative amount of racial violence affects economic, political, and health inequalities between, as well as within, Black and white communities. Of equal importance, we are interested in understanding how communities mitigate the long-term effects of racial violence. We use a mixed-methods approach combining statistical methods, causal inference techniques, natural experiments, and content analysis, ensuring a complementary approach to identify general patterns across the US as well as test causal mechanisms. In contrast to previous research, we build on a theory that maintains that violence shapes political order, leading us to expect that not only does the form and intensity of violence directly impact critical measures of well-being, but continues to influence outcomes generations later. We propose that accounting for how violence engenders both long-term deleterious outcomes and efforts to redress those aftereffects offers the potential to fundamentally understand and reduce endemic and seemingly permanent horizontal inequalities. Our project offers a promising approach to more fully understand and address a legacy that impacts millions of people around the world.

Funding scheme:

FRIHUMSAM-Fri prosj.st. hum og sam