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Department of Criminal Justice California State University - Bakersfield CRJU 330 Race, Ethnicity and Criminal Justice Dr. Abu-Lughod, Reem Ali The Present Crisis
Background: n n n n AA scholar W. E. B. Du Bois “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line” Incarceration rate for AA Hispanics and Latinos: fastest growing group in the U. S. . With that some problems are evident: misunderstanding of different cultural practices police relationships may become problematic language barriers Racial profiling Fear of crime and heterogeneous neighborhoods Death penalty cases: the question of who gets executed Social change
n n Coramae Mann’s criticisms: Focus only on AA: what happened to other racial minorities? In this book, the authors also focus on Americans of Middle Eastern origin n Wilbanks argues that racism in CJ is a myth n Genetic inferiority linked to criminal acts n Realization that has to be made is that the U. S. is multiracial
RACE VERSUS ETHNICITY n Race: major biological divisions of mankind (skin color, hair texture, physical features). n What about interracial marriages? n Anthropologists would argue that race is a social construct n “drop of blood” theory n The case of Susan Graham of Roswell, Georgia (she is white, black husband)
FImpact of classifications on children? How we label individuals n n Reporting data with NCVS? What is your race? Assoc of Multi. Ethnic Americans (AMEA) fought for people’s right with mixed heritage. In 1997 OMB adopted new federal guidelines allowing people to identify themselves in terms of more than one race.
ETHNICITY: differences between groups of people based on cultural customs (language, religion, foodways, family patterns, etc) n n n Hispanic or Latino is more complex The definition of “minority”…. . usually used for people of color. Sociologist Louis Wirth: argues that the term is discriminatory So what term should we use to identify racial and ethnic groups? African American versus black. Arguments that terms created are political, talking about a capitalist society and the exclusion of the “weaker” class, i. e. powerlessness.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE DATA ON RACE AND ETHNICITY u Lack of consensus on the racial and ethnic categories u How do we analyze data and how do we account for disparities in the justice system u UCR: doesn’t include information on race. Hierarchy rule
THE GEOGRAPHY OF RACIAL AND ETHNIC JUSTICE u Uneven distribution of racial and ethnic groups across the country u Some communities lack racial diversity u More than half of all racial and ethnic minorities live in just 5 states: California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois. u More police chiefs and city mayors that are of a racial/ethnic minority group
DISPARITY VERSUS DISCRIMINATION u Disparity: difference that does not necessarily involve discrimination. Legal versus extralegal factors u Discrimination: based on differential treatment. E. g. until 1960 s most Southern police departments did not hire African American officers. No AA officers in white neighborhoods. u Definitions of discrimination: systematic, institutionalized (prior criminal record), contextual (victim-offender relationships), Individual, pure justice
A THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE u Conflict theory: power of the dominant group of those individuals threatened by that power. u Vagrancy is an example of controlling the poor by the rich class in society by enforcing laws to make vagrancy a criminal act u Conflict theory also explains the overrepresentation of the minority groups in the CJ system u Differs from Marxist theory (there is a class structure and class struggle between the poor and the ruling rich). Conflict (pluralistic approach) and different centers of power
CONCLUSION u What does all this mean in the context of criminal justice issues u Are there disparities in the CJ system u What about discrimination issues other theoretical perspectives can we use to further explain the significance of race and ethnic issues in CJ and American society