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CRIM 1650 Lecture Notes - WINTER TERM.docx

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CRIM 1650
James Williams

CRIM 1650 LECTURE NOTESWINTER TERM THJANUARY 8 2013Newtown Connecticut shooting Adam Lanzakilled twenty childreno NRA held a pressconference and one of his key recommendations was that armed guards were needed to be placed in all schools in the United States The best solution of a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gunhow do you differentiate a good guy from a bad guyo Suggested establishing a database for the mentally illhow do you define the mentally ill What would the point bethere is no evidence between mental illness and crime like there is evidence between alcohol and crime Clip from the NRA Press Conferenceo The mentality is similar to that of Silence of the Lambsthe NRA seems to be invested in the myths of the criminal mindHas a cultural resonance of the biological perspective o The core message of the NRA is that guns dont kill people people dodeflect attention from the guns and focus on the problems of the people who use them Monstrous psychopaths versus the rest of usRace and Crime Objectives 1 Cultural Representations of Race and Crime a Racialization of crime b Criminalization of race2 Dilemmas of Definition and Measurement3 Explaining the RaceCrime Linka Differential offending VERSUS b Racial discriminationMyths Cultural Representations of Race and CrimeHow connections between race and crime are culturally and socially constructed Researchers tend to accept and establish definitions of race categorizations of existing racial groups and focus all attention on whether or not there is a connection between race and criminal activity o Take race for granted not thinking about what it is what it means and how it is significant If you go back to the late 1800s and early 1900s there was a tendency to view race in biological termso Race was understood as an expression of fundamental biological differenceso Those differences could be communicated through superficial physical features Eg skin colour eye shape hair textureProcess of categorizing people is an important expression of powerpower is expressed through the development and implementation of categorieswhat race ISo Science started to be applied to criminology sociology in understanding society and its make up Belief that these race based differences could help to explain variations in things like intelligence socioeconomic statuso They were used to explain social differencespowerful because you are essentially arguing in a particular situation that social differences are a result of your biological features The problems with this biological view assumption that race is a biological category o If you look at this from a biological perspective and focus on genesgreater genetic variation within racebased groups than between Within whites you will find more genetic variation than between whites and Hispanics Race then accounts for 0001 of genetic variation within the human populationRace isnt seen as very important within a biological perspectiveo If you go back to the time period of the early 1900s you will see very strange ways of looking at racial groups and trying to distinguish different groupsYou have many accounts of a number of groups that are considered white now were classified as nonwhite eg Germans and Italians Suggests that what we are talking about is not a biological difference but a social distinction which is why we move from race as being a biological construct to race as a social and political construct Racism now is less overt and not generally tied to a specific attitude1 Race as social and political construction 2 Traditional versus Symbolic and Systemic Racism o Traditional Racism idea that racism is an attitude a state of mind in which individuals openly view other racial groups in very negative waysview other groups as being less intelligent lazy more prone to crime etc Consistent with the idea of HATEo Symbolic Racism negative representations of social groups that are expressed through coded language and symbols How groups are described how conditions activities like crime are described While this use of language is not overtly racist it is nevertheless informed by popular understandings of race and they reproduce racebased accounts of common social problems EXAMPLE if were talking about language the media is a great place to look for symbolic racism Bill OReilly met with Al Sharpton at Sylvias well known restaurant in harlem Was explaining how the restaurant Sylvias is like every other restaurant even though its run by black people Also said that it was calm and without any craziness He is generally reproducing in a subtle way racebased stereotypesthe very idea that African Americans would be yelling and crazy in a black restaurant and surprise that there is civility like in a white restaurant Language is fundamental in the way that race is talked about and racism is reproduced in a subtler way than it has been in the pasto Systemic Racism Refers to practices and patterns in society and its institutions which although they may not be intended to disadvantage any group can have the effect of permitting discrimination against nonwhite groups and thus reproduce inequality Prison system immigration welfare schools etcBecause this form of racism is deeply embedded within institutional practices if often becomes invisible or deniable which is its key feature EXAMPLE 1950s in the US after the Second World War the US government established an initiative to encourage home ownership so returning veterans can own their own homes which at that time were very expensive and prohibited Government created relatively cheap mortgages so homes could be purchased One of the things that came to be important to who would get these loans was geography Where you lived became a factor of determining the risk of the loan Established concept of red district and green district If you lived in a red district there was a low chance you would be given a loan The red areas were disproportionately African American and Hispanic areas while the green areas were often the white areas An institutional practice is established which isnt clearly informed as racist but based on the way the system was implemented in practice it had the ability to discriminate against blacks and Hispanics Known as the practice of redlining EXAMPLE 2008 SubPrime Crisislawsuits directed towards big investment banks which charged those banks with providing high risk loans and loans which were very difficult to pay back providing those loans disproportionately to African Americans and Hispanics Banks would not inform the buyers that the interest rates would skyrocket down the road Known as the practice of greenliningRACE THE POWER OF AN ILLUSIONDocumentaryWhat we perceive as race is one of the first things we notice about each other skin eyes hair o Attached to these characteristics are values assumptions and historical meaningsThe average person believes that by looking at a persons physical appearance they can find out subtle things about themo There are no subspecies in human beingso Race is based on your cultural lens Being classified as Asian or black or latino has never carried the same advantages in society as being white The markers of race that we identify mean nothing unless they are given social meaning and unless there is public policy and private actions that act upon those characteristicscreating raceth At the start of the 20 century law makers and social scientists wondered how they would fit into all the races already thereo Seeking economic opportunity freedom and a future for their familieso Of the 23 million newcomers the vast majority were from Europeo Immigrants often work the hardest and lowestpaying jobs Charles davenport expressed fears in 1911the population of the united states will rapidly become darker in pigment smaller in stature more given to crimes of larceny kidnap assault and murder will increaseBiology was considered destinycould be a matter of life of death depending on which side you are onNew immigrants from Europe were inbetween people who were neither white nor black To be white was to gain the full rewards of American citizenship Race is a social political construction
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