Article written by DPDF 2009 State Violence Fellow and 2013 Drug, Security, and Democracy Fellow Jaime Amparo Alves and João Costa Vargas, featured in Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power:
In this essay, we explore the racialised dimensions of policing practices in Brazil. To do so, we look not at the police, their administrative organisation, and practices, but rather we examine the modes of sociality reflected in and produced by police violence. Drawing from a statistics-based analysis of the social and political outcomes produced by the state in its preparation of mega-sports events – evictions, incarceration, and police violence, for example – we identify a nexus between, on the one hand, racialised violence against black bodies and, on the other hand, white loyalty to the state, despite, or precisely because of, a specific type of violence perpetrated by the state on white bodies. Our primary contention is that we cannot understand white victimisation by the police – and the outrage it produces – without taking into consideration two foundational, dialectical aspects of the regime of rights: complicity and disavowal. White vulnerability to this specific form of state violence – a form of violence that is contingent and produces collective horror – reflects not only the disavowal of black suffering, but also the strengthening of the white public sphere.