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race and crime

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CRIM 1650
James Williams

Tuesday January 15 2013 Myths: Cultural Representations of race and crime 1) “Race” as a social and political construction - Develop procedures that are overly discriminatory 2) “traditional” versus “symbolic” and “systematic” Racism - Traditional- racism as an attitude Symbolic- negative understanding of particular groups expressed through language - Systematic- advantage to some groups E.g.: missing women inquiry in B.C= 19 women who were murdered by Pickton; aboriginal sex trade workers in Vancouver, the police exercised what was referred to a systemic biased. Didn’t take it seriously, or investigate instances of violence of abuse. 3) Cultural representations of crime and criminality informed by race - Explicit and implicit line drawn between violence and abuse 2 Processes: 1) “Racialization of Crime” and the “Criminalization of Race” (Being Connected) “Racialization of Crime” Symbolic racism comes into play. Process through which crime is constructed and defined in an explicit racial terms. (E.G. Hurricane Katrina -2005; one aspect: the idea of spikes in crime- people went to the Super Dome and the convention centre to seek support/shelter. Reports surfaced that people were being physically and sexually assaulted.) (Guns and Gangs, crack: debates in the 1980’s) Describing crime in a race based way “Criminalization of Race” treatment of particular racialized group, as though they are criminals. “The perception that certain racial groups are predisposed to crime/ crime prone, so they are treated as such.” E.G.: Racial profiling; people are more crime prone, so they are subject to a lot of institutions. E.G.: a 17 year old (Tavern) got shot in Florida, because he was in a gated community to visit someone, and Zimmerman pleaded self defense, but then he was charged (drug connection was made). Reality: Dilemmas of definitions and measurement 1) Absence of Canadian statistics on race and crime - We don’t have Canadian statistics; does not collect statistics based on race a) Validity and interpretation of race-based crime statistics b) Problematic policy implications 2) Available data confined to prison population a) Over-representation of Aboriginal people in both federal and provincial prison systems. (look at the percentage of aboriginal people and compare it to the prison population) Adult aboriginals: 20% of admissions to provincial and territorial prisons.18% admissions to federal facilities; they only make up about 3% of the Tuesday January 15 2013 Canadian adult population. Manitoba= 70% versus 12 percent. Alberta =35% admissions V.S 5% population. b) Over-representations of Blacks- Primarily in Ontario 3) According to U.S data, African-American is overly represented in both arrest statistics and prison populations. Explaining the race-crime link: Disproportionate Offending 1) Historical legacies of colonialism and slavery 2) Social, economic and political marginalization - Teen pregnancy, high rates of infant mortality 3) Community disorder, Helplessness and Anomie - Helps highlight the effects and forms of marginalization of colonialism - High rates of drug and alcohol abuse, family violence, sexual abuse. Explaining the race crime link II:
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