Abstract

Abstract:

In 1984 the City of Los Angeles implemented a new policing ordinance called the “containment and mitigation policy,” which did not target subjects for prison arrest but sought to achieve their open-air capture in a redesigned “homeless district” called skid row. The policy was devised by Mayor Tom Bradley and his black and gay allies as a solution that balanced the pressures of deinstitutionalization and deindustrialization with the objectives of the community mental health movement and black, gay, and downtown community redevelopment programs. Looking to archival material related to architectural landscapes oriented to normalizing race and homosexuality built by Bradley, community mental health professionals, and neighborhood activists in inner-city districts, this essay demonstrates that new discourses of racial and sexual liberalism, coded as “multiculturalism” and expressed as black and gay community pride campaigns, substantiated new forms of surveillance and policing that renewed violence on queer, homeless, trans, and disabled people of color that resulted in their spatial segregation in skid row. Rather than forward social justice, I argue that the city’s cultivation of multiculturalism obscured the processes of racial capitalism that underwrite the enlargement of carceral spaces and normalize surveillance and policing as a common good.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 541-567
Launched on MUSE
2019-07-06
Open Access
No
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