Henry A. Giroux



Zero Tolerance, Domestic Militarization, and the War Against Youth

Giroux argues that the hollowing out of the state and the shift in its emphasis away from providing for people’s welfare, protecting the environment, and expanding the realm of public goods has meant a heavier reliance on its militarizing functions and the criminal justice system as a model for how to manage and contain populations within a wide range of public spheres. Thus, the prison-industrial complex can best be understood as a model for enforcing the criminalization of social problems, policing communities, punishing and containing students of color, and redefining the state as a force for domestic militarization. For the first time in U.S. history, the role of the prison has become the main machine for “race making.” The overgrown carceral system has become one of the most important institutions of symbolic production for equating black youth with the culture of criminality and defining the urban public school as a training ground for legitimating the models of authority and punishment that legitimate the regime of race-based incarceration. Giroux focuses on the appropriation and application of zero tolerance policies in the public schools.

youth, children public schools, atrocities, social control, community policing, public policy, school discipline, zero tolerance policies

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 30, No. 2 (2003): 59-65