Written by Todd Villeneuve.

The website RacialViolenceUS.com is a systematic look at the issue of race relations in the United States since 1863 at its most extreme end, the use of overt violence. It attempts to bring together resources for studying the issue, short overviews of the evolution of the uses of racial violence, and most importantly, the attempt to create an active database of incidents throughout the time period.


Why should anarchists care about the history of racial violence in the U.S? For one, it is often an example of the state use of force in its most illegitimate and irrational forms. For another, in the vast majority of instances, these are examples that do not follow the non-aggression principle even when the state is not an actor in the event. Thirdly, the history of racial violence within the U.S., I believe, is intimately connected with the incredible violence which we unleash overseas against people of color. From the Phillipines to Cuba, from Nicaraguato Japan, and from Viet Nam to Iraq, people of color feel the brunt of U.S. power. Would we ever drone the Irish or the Swedes? I also believe there is a link between the torture inflicted during lynchings and our willingness to support torture against Muslims today. This kind of horrific violence is a conditioned, learned activity. It requires thinking of someone else as the other. The war on terror has made sure that the average person thinks of Muslims in the same way that Native Americans or African-Americans were viewed 100 years ago.

Some people will say that we should only focus on the overall problem of violence and not break down into the individual reasons for it. I see this as shortsighted. On an individual basis, of course we should not see people as a function of their race, but to ignore the history and social structures that have made racism a permanent part of society does a far greater injustice to those who have already suffered. Violence by anyone is to be condemned. But statistically we cannot ignore those who have faced the greater negative effects from it.

If anyone is interested in contributing data or resources, critiquing the website, or in any way commenting, I may be reached at admin@racialviolenceus.com.