The United States of America vs. The United States of America: Dissecting Systems of Oppression and White Supremacy


  • Tony Gaskew University of Pittsburgh, Bradford
  • Salathiel Thompson


Critical Race Theory, Post-Secondary Prison Education, Black Liberation, Resistance Consciousness, White Supremacy


During the Spring 2016 academic term at University of Pittsburgh, Bradford, incarcerated educators at Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) FCI McKean with subject-matter expertise in organizing counter-culture sociopolitical movements, co-designed and taught an advanced upper-level undergraduate course, Special Topics in Courts: The United States of America v. The United States of America, which focused on dissecting systems of oppression and white supremacy within the criminal justice system in America, to traditional nonincarcerated college students. Using a critical autoethnographic lens, this essay will briefly examine the pedagogical nuances of this first-of-a-kind course, through the unique voices of the instructors and student participants.

Author Biography

Tony Gaskew, University of Pittsburgh, Bradford

Tony Gaskew, Ph.D., is Full Professor of Criminal Justice, Director of Criminal Justice, and Founding Director of the Prison Education Program at the University of Pittsburgh, Bradford. He is a Fulbright Hays Fellow and a University of Pittsburgh Faculty Diversity Fellow, who has conducted ethnographic research in Africa. In 2015, he was awarded the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (DHS) Beacon of Dignity Award at Columbia University for his outstanding dedication to equality and human rights. He is the book series editor of Critical Perspectives on Race, Crime, and Justice and has authored numerous publications focusing on Black liberation, police abolition, critical race theory, and dismantling justice systems of oppression. His most recent publication, Unfriending the Policing Culture: The Reawakened Black Consciousness (Lexington-Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) examines the metaphysical ritual of unfriending the policing culture as a pre-condition of Black liberation.


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