The Responsibility to protect and the North-South Divide

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    We had "a teachable moment" on July 17, 2009 when Sergeant James Crowley arrested Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gares in Boston. The incident showed how it is possible for both sides in a disputed sequence of events to be right. Intelligent and reasonable people who share a common experience can nonetheless interpret events differently and draw contradictory conclusions because we view events through the prism of our respective collective and individual historical narratives and life experiences. American police officers operate in a more hostile and life-threatening environment than their counterparts in other Western countries. For this reason, they are more heavily armed and operate with a different mind-set that prioritises securing compliance from a suspect over other considerations of politeness and nicety. Called to investigate a domestic break-in in progress, they will assume the worst until convinced otherwise and treat anyone on the premises as an offender. For their part, blacks, Hispanics, and other visible minorities have deeply ingrained memories and experiences of racial profiling. The racially differentiated statistics of those who have been stopped, charged, and convicted for all manner of offences-the popular phrase "driving while black" demonstrates the prevalence of this practice-are deeply disturbing as they illuminate the separate and unequal status of whites and nonwhites in the United Stares.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInternational Law: Contemporary Issues and Future Developments
    Editors Sanford R Silverburg
    Place of PublicationBoulder CO USA
    PublisherWestview Press
    ISBN (Print)9780813344713
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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