Dangerous Spaces
Beyond the Racial Profile
by D. Marvin Jones
October 2016, 244pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3824-8
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3825-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

According to the FBI’s most recent accounts of “justifiable homicide,” from 2005 to 2012, a white officer used deadly force against a black person almost two times every week.

An eye-opening, unapologetic explanation of what "racial profiling" is in modern-day America: systematic targeting of communities and placing of suspicion on populations, on the basis of not only ethnicity but also certain places that are linked to the social identity of that group.

In 21st-century, post–civil rights era America, “race” has become complex and intersectional. It is no longer simply a matter of color—black versus white—contends author D. Marvin Jones, but equally a matter of space or “geographies of fear,” which he defines as spaces in which different groups are particularly vulnerable to stereotyping by law enforcement: blacks in the urban ghetto, Mexicans at the functional equivalent of the border, Arabs at the airport.

Dangerous Spaces: Beyond the Racial Profile demonstrates how society has constructed a set of threat narratives in which certain widespread problems—immigration, drugs, gangs, and terrorism, for example—have been racialized and explains the historical and social origins of these racializing threat narratives. The book identifies how these narratives have led directly to relentless profiling that results in arrest, deportation, massive surveillance, or even death for members of suspect populations. Readers will come to understand how the problem of profiling is not merely a problem of institutional bias and individual decision making, but also a deeply rooted cultural issue stemming from the processes of meaning-making and identity construction.


  • Offers a novel framework for understanding the problem of racial profiling that explains how profiling actually involves the intersection of race and space
  • Provides concrete solutions in the form of a civil rights restoration act that addresses the problem of "racial profiling" through a set of innovative community controls on the deployment and power of police
  • Constitutes essential reading for students, lawyers, journalists, and teachers interested in issues of race and ethnicity as well as general readers wanting to learn about racial profiling in American society
D. Marvin Jones is professor of law at the University of Miami, where he has taught constitutional law and criminal procedure for more than 20 years. He has published numerous articles in leading law journals, including those of Georgetown, the University of Michigan, and Vanderbilt University. His published work includes Praeger's Race, Sex, and Suspicion: The Myth of the Black Male and Fear of a Hip-Hop Planet: America's New Dilemma. He received the James Thomas prize from Yale University, recognizing him as one the nation's foremost scholars on civil rights issues.


"This thoughtful and timely book adds to the reasonable discussion of race and exclusion in the world today. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above."—Choice, May 1, 2017

"In Dangerous Spaces Professor Jones weaves together history and narrative, law, and social theory to expose the raw wound on democracy that racial profiling has become. Jones explores how thirty years after the drug war and over a decade after 9/11 we have created geographies of fear for blacks, Hispanics, and Muslims as well. We have militarized and racialized the policing of the urban ghetto. Meanwhile the border has ceased to be a physical place but a cultural and religious location. Jones shows how race and place are dangerously intertwined."—Kenneth B. Nunn, Professor of Law, University of Florida Levin College of Law

"In Dangerous Spaces Professor Jones takes the reader on an eye-opening journey into today's front lines of the criminal justice system convincingly demonstrating how the combination of race and place are intricately intertwined in law enforcement's use of racial profiling practices. No longer just about color, Professor Jones argues for blacks in the inner city, for Hispanics at the border, and for Muslims any place in the public sphere where national security concerns arise, that this new form of profiling compromises American democracy by making entire communities of color suspect. Insightful, provocative, and timely, Dangerous Spaces is a must-read for those concerned about justice and equality in 'post-racial' America."—Michael Higginbotham, Joseph Curtis Professor of Law

“Trial lawyers need to read this book. As always, Professor Donald Jones brings originality, daunting perspective, and a wise, careful touch to the perennial topic of race. For years, I have turned to Professor Jones. In my effort to understand and present racial sensitivities and issues in my courtroom presentations. I read and re-read his works constantly. Without his assistance, I could never have been so successful in humanizing minority clients whom the criminal justice system routinely devalues and objectifies."—Thomas A. Messerau, Trial Lawyer

"Dangerous Spaces is a rich, contextual exposition of the problem of racial profiling. Professor Jones sheds new light on the old problem of the operation of racial profiling by linking it with the places where it primarily happens. It is not just that someone is black, but they are black in the inner city where the sale of illegal drugs and violent crime occurs. It is not that someone is Muslim, but they are Muslim in airports where an act of terrorism occurs. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking an accurate understanding of how racial profiling truly functions."—Kevin Brown, Richard S. Melvin Professor, Indiana University Maurer School of Law and Emeritus Director of the Hudson & Holland Scholars Program, Indiana University

"One of our most acute observers of race and the war on crime in urban America turns his insight to the new frontiers of fear and social control in an America still at war with itself."—Professor Jonathan Simon, Adrian A. Kragen Professor of Law, Faculty Director, Center for the Study of Law & Society, UC Berkeley, School of Law
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