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SOC 1500 Sept 20 2011 Lecture Note (F11)

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SOC 1500
Alexander Shvarts

SOC 1500 Tuesday, September 20, 2011 Lecture 1 Continued Race – does the color of your skin/ethnicity contribute to committing crime? African American males - Race has been found to be a good predictor of criminality, at least in the United States, but our information on the relationship between race and crime in Canada is very limited. - Racial minorities account for 11% of those incarcerated in Canada - Blacks make up only 2% of the population, but they represent 6% of the federally incarcerated - Foreign-born - highly under-represented among those incarcerated for violent crimes – idea that immigrants commit more crime; however, no concrete evidence - Facial profiling may help explain the over-representation of minorities in arrest statistics - contributing to their over-representation in criminal justice system – there are more racial minorities in jail because there are more cops in those areas arresting them more; not many cops around richer neighborhoods where white people live - Wortley and Tanner’s (2005) Toronto Youth Crime and Victimization Survey conducted in 2000: students who self-identified as black - much more likely to self- report being stopped and searched by the police, more likely to report engaging in deviant behavior and gang membership, while white students reported the highest levels of drug and alcohol use – blacks are more likely to be stalked/stopped by police; more likely to admit that they have infact engaged in deviant behavior - Which race/ethnic group has dominated the crime rate in the United States and why? Do African Americans commit more crime? – it may be true today. According to official statistics African Americans DO commit more crime and dominate jail. Looking back, African Americans did not dominate crime rates. HISTORY: 1800’s – Irish dominated crime rates. WHY? – there was no group that was more discriminated against than the Irish. Used to be looked at as the Niger’s of Europe’s because they had darker skin than the British. 1920’s&1950’s – Italians dominated crime rates – WHY? … same story 1930’s&1940’s – Jews dominated crime rates – There is no group in the world that experienced more prejudice than the Jews (Holocaust, WWI); weren’t allowed education, most jobs were off limits; used to be signed on every community centre/restaurant “No blacks, no Jews, no dogs”; dominated the NBA in the 1930’s&40’s (95% Jews) African American’s only began to dominate crime rates in the late 70’s and early 80’s. – WHY? – before the early 80’s, they had jobs (majority of factories were dominated by African American); factories went oversees to third world countries (cheaper labor) – closed factories; millions of African Americans in US lost their jobs; Unemployment rates of about 40-50%; After civil rights movement, 1/3 left city to suburbs; 2/3 who were left behind were unemployed with no jobs (middle class, unemployed); more likely to commit crime because they have nothing – drug crime; Colombians went to intercity communities and convinced African American’s to sell drugs; that’s when violent crime rates sky rocketed; In the late 70’s, early 80’s rap/hip hop emerged in the late 70’s/early 80’s Why do certain racial groups dominate? Groups that face the most prejudice and discrimination and lack the legitimate means to obtain their cultural goals are the ones most likely to get involved in crime. Overrepresentation of Canadian Aboriginal People in the Criminal Justice System o Aboriginals Over-represented: 4% of the population in 1996, but 14% of federal prison admissions in 1997; Aboriginal inmates generally younger, with more prior contacts with the system; High representation for homicide and other violent crimes – now the numbers are closer to 18% o Explanations of Aboriginal Overrepresentation: 1. Conflict between the values of Aboriginal culture and the dominant Canadian culture: Cultural explanations – differences in cultural values; way that they live is completely different, values they hold are different, way that they deal with deviance and crime is different; believe in restorative justice (community conferences) 2. The social and economic deprivation experienced by many Aboriginal peoples stemming from their colonization and oppression and resulting in higher Aboriginal offending rates and/or their discriminatory treatment by the criminal justice system: Structural explanations – look at what the British/French/Canadians have done to them throughout history; over 90% of them were slaughtered; ones that weren’t slaughtered were segregated in reserves; children taken away from reserves and forced to learn English and give away cultural beliefs; Aboriginals today – poor access to good schools, jobs 3. The types of offences that Aboriginals commit are more likely to result in a justice system response: Discriminatory treatment of Aboriginal people by the criminal justice system – Our criminal justice system discriminates against Aboriginals; aboriginals are more likely to commit crime in the public eye which can lead to more cops/arrest; a judge is more likely to listen to a white cop than an aboriginal defendant in court 4. Decline in interdependency in Aboriginal communities, resulting in cultural
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