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Vanderbilt professor to teach anti-police course

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A philosophy professor at Vanderbilt University is teaching an undergraduate course this spring semester called “Police Violence and Mass Incarceration.” The course involves discussions of recent violence in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City and how the elite, well-off students feel about allegations of police brutality in the deaths of two black men, Michael Brown and Eric Garner. As reported by the Daily Nous, the associate professor behind the course is Lisa Guenther, and the course description is as follows:

Lisa Guenther, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University
Lisa Guenther, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University

The killing of unarmed black men, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, by police in Missouri and New York, and the grand jury process that judged both homicides to be justifiable, has provoked a powerful social movement affirming that Black Lives Matter. The history of police violence against black people is as long as the history of policing itself; arguably, the first organized police forces in the US were slave patrols in South Carolina. As Beth Richie, Dean Spade, and other scholars have shown, women of color, people with disabilities, and queer, trans and gender-nonconforming people are also exposed in various ways to disproportionate police surveillance, arrest, and incarceration. Not only does the US have high rates of police violence and misconduct, we also have the highest incarceration rate in the world. Contemporary scholars have called this situation of mass incarceration in the US neo-slavery, the New Jim Crow, the Prison Industrial Complex, and the Golden Gulag.

In this course, we will engage philosophically with issues raised by police violence and mass incarceration in the US, asking both what philosophers can bring to the conversation and also what we can learn from the critical analysis and collective action of thinkers and activists beyond the academic discipline of philosophy. Our challenge is not only to read the work of contemporary philosophers, and not only to respond to current events, but to re-think what the practice of philosophy could become if philosophers sought not only to interpret the world, but also to change it.

The required books for the course are:

Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces by Radley Balko and The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander.

Nowhere in the course materials does it mention there will be a law enforcement perspective represented.

 

 

 

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1 COMMENT

    • Don’t work that way. The police will always help, they’re above that. Most situations you’re put in as a police officer deal with people that don’t like you and don’t want you there. But people like this teacher will never get it.

        • Thank you Lisa and Mark. You all speak the truth. Whether you are a child in a burning home, or a career criminal who has shot at us, then crashed, and was unconscious in his burning car, we are going to save you. Thank you for acknowledging this.

  1. Conspicuously absent also is any mention of the wrong-doings of the so-called “victims.” There’s no mention of the fact that mere compliance would have dramatically changed the outcome of these situations. And while I’m at it, how did THESE men become the poster children for police brutality?! Couldn’t they find anyone INNOCENT?

    • She is just another piece of shit in the grand toilet bowl of progressive liberalism floating on the surface, and sadly no amount of flushing will send her to the stinking sewer where she belongs.

  2. If she wants to do her class research justice, have her suit up in New York and Ferguson, since those are the police departments she is questioning, and work as an officer for a month. Also, since she will also be looking at incarceration, swing by the local prison system and work as a Correctional Officer (not guard) also for a month, without a weapon, and the felon/inmate ratio to officer is 112 to 1. I would be willing to bet her tune would change…..

  3. I would love the opportunity to sit in on this class and hear what this professor has to say but also give a perspective from a LEO who is also educated. So often professors conduct classes such as this based on the naive state of their audience and are never truly challenged because the audience considers them the subject matter expert.
    Twenty five years as a LEO versus the number of years the professor has been teaching could make for some interesting philosophical debate.

  4. This is disgusting & so wrong on many levels. Why do people like you seem to want to ignore the fact that Brown attacked the Officer & was trying to take his gun? Had he succeeded the Officer would be dead!! But that would be o.k., I guess. Brown was a criminal! Check it out. Garner was breaking the law, refused to comply & was resisting arrest! If these men had complied with the Officer’s request there would not have been a problem….or not broken the law in the first place!! Cops are being killed in record numbers….these Officer’s have a right to go home to their families at the end of their watch…just like you. In case you don’t seem to get it……POLICE LIVES MATTER, too. They are trying to do their job, the job we ask them to do, & still stay alive!! It’s really very simple: if you’re stopped by a Cop…comply with the Officer’s request…if you’re arrested, don’t resist & don’t try to take his/her gun…work it out at the station! Shame on you Ms. Guenther…if someone attacked you….it’s going to be one of these horrible Cops that you call to save your sorry butt. Shame on you Vanderbilt for even allowing this course!! As someone from a family of Cops, two of which are my Son & Grandson….I take it very personally!! Praying for LEOs everywhere…

    • The difference between Police Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter is that police have the option of taking off their badge. Black folks can’t take off their skin.
      -And whatever happened to INNOCENT until proven guilty? My understanding is that neither Eric Garner nor Michael Brown had a trial to PROVE their guilt. The grand jury investigations were for the officers, not the dead folks.
      -Yet you claim they are NOT innocent?
      What system are you trying to preserve? Clearly not the Justice system.
      -This is where the Black Lives Matter conversation started.

      The more perspectives in this conversation, the better. That’s my opinion.

      • I’d like to say “Just ignore it.” It’s BS and inconsequential. But they are going to be poisoning the minds of college graduates . . which is not the typical audience for anti-policing lecturing in a prestigious (until now) university. This professor is NOT going to have her way, and perpetuate her disdain, without my challenge and representation of OUR perspective, by me. I am a former Richmond, VA police officer (patrolman, detective, SWAT Team , Riot Squad and a/Sergeant. After several years I became a Special Agent with ATF . . and the violence still continued against police. I can address shootings, felonious assaults, robberies, rapes, etc. with authority, having been involved in all of them. The time was the early to mid 1970s, the most violent era for murders and violence against police (yes, even more than now . . “Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc.” and the “FBI Uniform Reports.” More murders of police officers were committed between 1970 and 1975 than any other year in American Police History yes, even now). I have testified as an expert witness in “police use of force and police tactics, numerous. Officers i represented via their their attorneys, had charges dismissed following the submissions of my findings. I look forward to representing us, the nation’s police. I’ll pay for this myself . . gas, meals, lodging, the whole 9 yards. I hope you all are supportive of this. Over a ten year period of time (1994-2004)I have trained over 150,000 officers between my years of traveling and training while at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Glynco, GA, and after I retired, as President of my own company, “Strategies for Officer Survival, Inc.” I traveled 1.5 million miles on just Delta. It was a ball and an honor. I certainly won’t feel uncomfortable representing us to a class of college students. And they will get the truth . . including the dynamics of a shooting, functioning within survival stress, the dynamics of a shooting, and so on. I will show many videos in support of my commentary! I’d enjoy your comments. Thanks and stay safe. Jim

      • Brown did not have a trial because he chose to violently buck the system and assault the officer rather than comply with lawful orders. There is VIDEO of him stealing from a convenience store and assaulting the owner shortly before his suicide. There is also an older video of him beating the hell out of an old man for sport. No, that does not “convict” him (and no one said it did) but it’s disingenuous at best to bat your eyes and say “but how do we know he was a criminal?”. We know because we saw him being one.
        I’m not familiar enough with the Eric Garner case to argue it, but it’s my understanding that it never would have happened had he simply complied. Not ONCE have I heard anyone involved with the BLM movement say “don’t break the law” or “don’t violently resist lawful orders”. Certainly makes ME wonder if the entire movement is about “laws don’t apply to us, so stop expecting us to follow them”.

    • CB3, you are 100% correct, and I’d like to add this to my earlier (a few minutes ago) post. Through the University, I am going to invite a delegation of Vanderbilt area police. Pls read my earlier (and copious) post. Thanks brother!

  5. This is what happens when you receive your Ph.D in “Underwater Fingerpainting.” I’m just trying to figure out how an institution like Vanderbilt would allow such a farce of a class on it’s coriculmn

  6. Why doesn’t she teach a course in personal responsility? Or “How to be a good citizen”? Or “How NOT to break the law”? Maybe a course in the differnces between a peaceful protest, a protest that purposely causes public nuisances and riots. Or better yet, how about why African Americans make up 13% of the population, but account for 50% of all homicides. Or that 90% of homicides committed against African Americans are BY African Americans? I guess none of that matters as long as you can play on the racist fear mongering propaganda perpetuated by the MSM and then have that whipped into a frenzy by the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

  7. “Associate Professor of Philosophy”- Her title tells you all you need to know- She has never been out of academia and kowtows to the Progressive claptrap she hears on campus. As a former Philosophy major, I know whereof I speak.

  8. This Associate Professor is not qualified to teach this course because she does not possess the knowledge or the experience required for this subject.
    In order for her to quaify she must spend time in the environment with the people she is going to teach about and in their capaicity.
    In other words she is going to have to suite up and get her as beat and get shot at and get verbally abused on a daily basis for several years to get a taste for the subject she wants to teach. You cannot get the required education from the academic world to teach this subject. It has been proven before. By a notable Criminaologist from the Florida State University when he was challenged to go on the street in Jacksonville Florida as a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer. He consequently wrote a book disavowin g his previous perceptions of the criminal world and how the Police action was unfair.

  9. Opening historical premise is wrong! She needs to do more research about the evolution and adoption of policing organizations from the mid to late 1700s in England to the models ultimately adopted in the U.S.

  10. Well, from the perspective of nihilists, nothing can be known or communicated. They believe that social and political systems are so bad, they should be destroyed (today’s anarchists). Nihilism simply denies the possibility of knowing the truth. Save yourself some money, because this class would scramble your brain.
    In a nutshell, take Descartes’ philosophy as your own–“I think, therefore, I am” because the nihilists actually convinced themselves that they didn’t exist; it took Descartes to put an end to that lunacy. With regard to law enforcement, “I think, therefore, I believe that the Thin Blue Line has philosophies that are noble.”

  11. Vanderbilt University is a great example of one of the many symptoms of our demise.
    Our Universities are a joke. They teach “Hate the Cops”, sexuality, Gluten free living, interpretive dance, theater, baroque art, and crap like that. China, North Korea, India…they teach (wait for this!) Calculus, Chemistry, Engineering, Military Strategy, Cyber Warfare, Aerospace Engineering, Biology, Physics and much more. I wonder why America is going down the drain so fast? Give every liberal idiot a new I-phone and an SUV every year and you can rob them blind and make them dumber every year, they will never notice because they have Facebook, Pokemon and have to stop at Starbucks 3 times a day.
    Enjoy your anarchy. Stage four of this cycle (we are entering three) can be one of two things: A civil war, or an invasion when some outside entity has seen us weaken to the point that we are an easy target for take over.

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