This article examines the life and career of Richard Zuley, a Chicago police detective turned military interrogator who tortured criminal suspects in both the United States and Guantánamo Bay. Among the police officers and military personnel who have commented publicly on Zuley's career, there exists a consensus that his actions have undermined the integrity of the US criminal justice system and the international security state. The problem is that while acknowledging that Zuley's actions were unconscionable, they also implicitly characterize torturers like Zuley as exceptional. This poses the question: How do we understand the figure of Richard Zuley in a way that does not see the torture he enacted as an anomaly? The literature on white supremacy gives us a way forward. Building on this work, I argue that the ideology of white supremacy is a major component of the schema of racism that informs state-sanctioned violence. By now, the schema of racism is so ingrained that it is subconsciously enacted in rationales for fighting terrorism and cannot be simply “unthought.” The irony is because schemas of racism cannot be unthought, they are naturalized and go unexamined in prevailing scholarship on governance and security. [policing, race, security, terrorism].
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)