Thanks to W.E.B. DuBois’s pedagogical teachings of race and how it plays a role in the disparities of the criminal justice system, the study of race and its correlation to the criminal justice system started sooner than I would have imagined. We can argue that race has been one of the largest issues in America, especially when it pertains to criminology and criminal justice. In this paper I will be stating a few reasons why the study of race is an important topic when discussing crime.
When discussing crime and the rate of which it occurs, it is important that we take into consideration why that particular person might have committed that crime. With that being said, you must look at that individual’s socioeconomic status which includes that persons home life, peer influences, income, and level of education. There is much research to defend the purpose of this. Lastly, the racial discrimination within the criminal justice system.
For much of the reasons why we study race in this aspect is because different races operate differently. What I mean by this is that much of a person’s existence is primal ,which would start with their lives at home. More African American children than white children are raised in a single parent homes(Wetzstein, 2015). Studies show that children who grow up in a broken home are more susceptible to commit crimes than children who are raised in a two parent home(Griffin et al., 2000).
The political system for many of years, has worked to break down the traditional home of Blacks realizing that the instability of the family causes detrimental trauma to the child. This then affects the mindset of that child which causes them to engage in criminal activities. To study someone’s background in their home life is very vital because it helps to tell you the reason why that person is the way that they are.
Next are peer influences. Elijah Anderson’s “Code of the Street” (2000), helps to explain much of the reasons why people from low income areas operate the way that they do. In an area where people lack a sufficient amount funds and an inconsistent income, they tend to gain status not necessary by the amount of money they possess, but how they build their reputation. In most cases, building a respectable reputation includes illegal activity such as killing and stealing. Thus, creating a criminal. This type of crime is huge in the African American and Hipic culture.
With much of the impoverished people in American being White (K.,C., 2018) , people could argue that whites from low income areas do the same amount of illegal activities as blacks from low income areas. This in essence is a true statement, but what has been proven to be the unfair part about this is that because of race, Blacks are more susceptible to getting caught and serving more time for the same crime committed. (Ingraham, 2017) . This is because the criminal justice system is bias against African Americans. Studies have also shown the African Americans are at the highest rate for incarcerations (Simon, 2016).
The level of education is also another reason why we should study race (University of Ontario, 2011) . People from low income areas, typically black and hipic low income areas, lack formal education or if they are allotted the opportunity to be formally educated, it is never as good as is in areas with more money. Formal education for one, enlightens a person on ways to keep and improve their health, which creates a better living environment. A good formal education is also the foundation of most high paying careers. Because low income areas lack much of the legal ways to obtain a substantial amount of money to support themselves and their family, this in return creates a person who obtains money or valuable items in an illegal manner (Butler, 2013). Thus, creating a criminal.
The racial discrimination within the criminal system were rooted by many people who were racist (Barrow ; Johnson, 2018). With those who were racist having family members that too were racist by pedagogical teachings, this then expands the amount of hatred and fear among people. The study of race helps us to better understand different cultures. For example, because of the media, which petrays black men as vicious gangbangers that steal and kill, many white women fear for their lives when around a black man. This then makes her more susceptible to call the police if she sees the slightest suspicious activity.
With all that has been stated above, race is such an important factor to take into consideration when discussing crime. If we did not study race and how it correlates to the criminal justice system, we would forever be ignorant to the many reasons why specific races are targeted more often than others. Because some races are put at disposition, they are more likely to end up in the judicial system. Much of the research that has been conducted proves that there is a significant amount of racial discrimination within the criminal justice system. What we have been doing to counteract this issue is a question that still stands. Race, for many years, has been apart of the deciding factor for much of a person’s sentencing. Also, what might be the reason why that person of that specific race would commit that crime.
In this course, I expect to learn many more of the reasons why we study so closely on race and how it correlates to crime. Also, what is some of the research that has been found. I also expect to learn the reasons why we have not solved much of the racial issues within the judicial system. Another thing that I am excited to touch on are the many racial issues that have occured in the past as well as many of the racial issues that have occurred in current events. I want to hear many of my peers learnings and teaching on the disproportionate incarceration of specific races as well.
With race being a large factor in the reason why some crimes are committed or why some individuals are accused of committing the crime, I am excited to learn some policy implications that our judicial system will offer and enforce to lessen this issue. Lastly, I am excited to learn Dr. Jordan’s perspective of racial discrimination in the judicial system and whether he believes that because of the amount of research that has taken place in the past, does he believe this issue will no longer take place in the future. If not, what does he think it will take for this issue to be eradicated.
Anderson, E. (2000). Code of the street: Decency, violence, and the moral life of the inner city. New York: W.W Norton.
Barrow, B., ; Johnson, C. (2018, August 04). Warren: Criminal Justice System ‘Racist’…’front to Back’. Retrieved September 05, 2018, from https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2018-08-04/warren-criminal-justice-system-racistfront-to-back
Butler, P. (2013, June 24). Food poverty: ‘I was brought up not to steal. But that’s how bad it’s got’. Retrieved September 05, 2018, from https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/society/patrick-butler-cuts-blog/2013/jun/24/food-poverty-growth-in-shoplifting-groceries
Griffin, Kenneth W., et al. “Parenting Practices as Predictors of Substance Use, Delinquency, and Aggression among Urban Minority Youth: Moderating Effects of Family Structure and Gender.” Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, vol. 14, no. 2, 2000, pp. 174–184., doi:10.1037/0893-164x.14.2.174.
Ingraham, C. (2017, November 16). Black men sentenced to more time for committing the exact same crime as a white person, study finds. Retrieved September 05, 2018, from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/wonk/wp/2017/11/16/black-men-sentenced-to-more-time-for-committing-the-exact-same-crime-as-a-white-person-study-finds/
K., C. (2018, February 20). Black Americans are over-represented in media portrayals of poverty. Retrieved September 05, 2018, from https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.economist.com/democracy-in-america/2018/02/20/black-americans-are-over-represented-in-media-portrayals-of-poverty#ampf=undefined
Simon, C. (2016, June 16). There is a stunning gap between the number of white and black inmates in America’s prisons. Retrieved September 05, 2018, from https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.businessinsider.com/study-finds-huge-racial-disparity-in-americas-prisons-2016-6
U. (2011, December 06). Study finds increased education lowers crime. Retrieved September 05, 2018, from https://www.google.com/amp/s/phys.org/news/2011-12-lowers-crime.amp
Wetzstein, C. (2015, February 12). Black youths more likely to come from broken homes: Report. Retrieved September 05, 2018, from https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/12/black-youths-more-likely-to-come-from-broken-homes/