Until reading Razack's article “The Camp” I had never considered the idea that there are modern day “concentration camps” and I had never extrapolated on the narrow conception I have of what a concentration camp is. My idea goes little beyond the Nazi and Japanese internment camps during World Wars I and II. Razack's referal to Giorgio Agamben's suggestion that “a concentration camp is created every time a structure gives rise to a place where the rule of law does not operate.” When the law gives way to a system that excuses the suspension of the rule of law under arbitrary circumstances we arrive at the situation many people are living in in our post-911 society. Agamben goes on to assert that “bodies become camps when they are cast into a state of indeterminacy that is simultaneously inside and outside the law,” and in this way we see that individuals can be lost in a lawless system such as this in the name of law and security.
The impact of racial profiling and legislation that excuses racial practices not only leads to the abhorrent civil rights violations that Razack speaks of in her article but it also lends to the acceptance of more subtle (yet equally race-based) segregation and segmentation of people for social, business and other non-security based purposes. That is to say, the racial ideology that is so accepted when excused as a “necessary security measure” bleeds down into other tiers of society such as business and, more specifically the media, as the attainment of a truly egalitarian society is so obviously far down the priorities list that it is sacrificed for just about everything else. When I say media I am more so referring to the valuation of consumers in the eyes of potential advertisers based on racial characteristics then the media messages themselves. The difference between racist practices in consumer society and racism in security and intelligence lies in the high profile nature of national security racial profiling in the news compared to the more subtle and highly undetected racism that is unfortunately inherent in the media business. Similar to the way racial profiling works in security by working with homogeneous and highly discriminatory assumptions about groups of people, audience valuation by potential advertisers employs similar homogeneous attitude toward the social situations of race groups. To clarify, audience valuation is simply the value placed on certain audience segments who are potential markets and consumers of marketed products. So to say that the process of determining the value of a specific audience group is often times racist is to say that advertisers and media-investors place a lower or higher value on audiences of certain racial backgrounds.
This seems somewhat irrelevant to Razacks discussion of “concentration camps” and exceptions but being most interested in media concerns I can't help but draw connections between what is being “let slide” on a security and intelligence front and what is being passed as legitimate in the media world. The common ground between the two issues lays in the ease to which society trusts those in power and freely gives up their own (hopefully) noble convictions about race in the face of meager “necessity.” This submission to acts that we all know are unjust and discriminatory is what continuously allows and excuses the horrible human rights violations that Razack refers to and allows for (through media) a continued hegemonic ideology based in legitimized racism whether that racism be legitimized in the name of security or in the name of savvy capitalism.