Afrofuturism, Critical Race Theory, and Policing in the Year 2044
New York University Law Review, Vol. 94, p. 101, 2019
58 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2019 Last revised: 4 Jun 2019
Date Written: February 8, 2019
In 2044, the United States is projected to become a “majority-minority” country, with people of color making up more than half of the population. And yet in the public imagination—from Robocop to Minority Report, from Star Trek to Star Wars, from A Clockwork Orange to 1984 to Brave New World—the future is usually envisioned as majority white. What might the future look like in year 2044, when people of color make up the majority in terms of numbers, or in the ensuing years, when they also wield the majority of political and economic power? And specifically, what might policing look like? This Article attempts to answer these questions by examining how artists, cybertheorists, and speculative scholars of color—Afrofuturists and Critical Race Theorists—have imagined the future. What can we learn from Afrofuturism, the term given to “speculative fiction that treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns [in the context of] techno culture?” And what can we learn from Critical Race Theory and its “father” Derrick Bell, who famously wrote of space explorers to examine issues of race and law? What do they imagine policing to be, and what can we imagine policing to be in a brown and black world?
Keywords: Afrofuturism, Fourth Amendment, Big Data, surveillance, technology, critical race theory, race, gender, sexuality, policing, criminal justice
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