A Theory of African American Offending: Race, Racism, and Crime

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2011-02-28
  • Publisher: Routledge

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A little more than a century ago, the famous social scientist W.E.B. Dubois asserted that a true understanding of African American offending must be grounded in the "real conditions" of what it means to be black living in a racial stratified society. Today and according to official statistics, African American men'”about 6 percent of the population of the United States'”account for nearly 60 percent of the armed robbery arrests in the United States. To the authors of this book, this and many other glaring racial disparities in offending centered on African Americans is clearly related to their unique history and to their past and present racial subordination. Inexplicably, however, no criminological theory exists that fully articulates the nuances of the African American experience and how they relate to their offending. In readable fashion for undergraduate students, the general public, and criminologists alike, this book for the first time presents the foundations for the development of an African American theory of offending..

Author Biography

James D. Unnever is an Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. Dr. Unnever was the recipient of the Donal A.J. MacNamara Award by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in 2009. The author of over 40 publications appearing in such journals as Social Forces, Criminology, Social Problems, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, and Justice Quarterly, Dr. Unnever was ranked as the fifth most innovative author in criminology from 2000-2010. His areas of expertise include race and crime, public opinion about crime-related issues including the death penalty, the testing of theories of crime, and school bullying. Shaun L. Gabbidon is Distinguished Professor of Criminal Justice in the School of Public Affairs at Penn Stare Harrisburg. Dr. Gabbidon has served as a fellow at Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research, and as an adjunct faculty member in the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. The author of more than 100 scholarly publications including 50 peer-reviewed articles and 12 books, his most recent books include Race, Ethnicity, Crime, and Justice: An International Dilemma and Criminological Perspectives on Race and Crime (2nd edition). Dr. Gabbidon currently serves as the editor of the new SAGE journal, Race and Justice: An International Journal. The recipient of numerous awards, Dr. Gabbidon was most recently awarded the 2009 W.E.B. Du Bois Award from the Western Society of Criminology for his outstanding contributions in the area of race, ethnicity, and justice.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. XV
African American Offendingp. 1
Introductionp. 1
African Americans and the Criminal Justice Systemp. 1
The Uniqueness of Being Black in America: The Need for a Black Criminologyp. 4
The African American Heritagep. 4
A Black Criminologyp. 7
General Theories on African American Offendingp. 10
Social Disorganization Theoryp. 11
Hirschi's Social Control Theoryp. 13
Gottfredson and Hirschi's General Theory of Crimep. 14
Strain Theoriesp. 15
Merton's Strain Theoryp. 15
Agnew's General Strain Theoryp. 16
Aker's Social Learning Theoryp. 19
Afrocentricityp. 21
Conclusionp. 24
An African American Worldviewp. 25
The Basic Premise of Our Theory of African American Offendingp. 26
The Racial Dividep. 29
Evidence of a General Racial Dividep. 29
Hurrticane Katrinap. 30
Does Race Matter?p. 30
Success of the Civil Rights Movementp. 31
Reparations and Race Relationsp. 31
The Racial Divide in Perceptions of the Criminal Justice Systemp. 32
The Racial Divide in Support for the Death Penaltyp. 32
The Racial Divide in Perceptions of Injustice in the Criminal Justice Systemp. 34
The Racial Divide in Support for the ôWar on Drugsöp. 37
A Worldview that is Shared Among all African Americansp. 39
Why African Americans Share this Perception of the Criminal Justice Systemp. 41
The Election of Barack Obamap. 46
Perceived Racial Discriminationp. 47
Would Employers Rather Hire Whites than African Americans?p. 48
Perceptions of Racial Discriminationp. 49
Conclusionsp. 51
Perceptions of Criminal Justice Injustices and African American Offendingp. 52
Perceptions of Criminal Justice Injusticesp. 52
Why People Obey the Lawp. 52
Procedural Justicep. 53
Legal Socializationp. 55
Perceptions of Criminal Justice Injustices and Defiancep. 57
Shame, Anger, and Defiancep. 57
Hirschi's Control Theory and the Bond of Beliefp. 62
Variations in African American Offendingp. 65
Variations in the Degree to which African Americans Perceive Criminal Justice Injusticesp. 65
Variations in Placep. 66
Variations in Defiancep. 70
Variations by Genderp. 70
Racial Discrimination, Negative Stereotypes, Stereotype Threats, and African American Offendingp. 73
Racial Discrimination and the General Well-Being of African Americansp. 76
Racial Discrimination and African American Offendingp. 78
Racial Discrimination and Weak School Bondsp. 80
Stereotypes of African Americansp. 88
Prevailing Racial Stereotypesp. 88
The Impact that Negative Stereotypes Have on African Americansp. 92
Stereotypes and Offendingp. 93
Stereotype Threat and Weak Social Bondsp. 94
Stereotype Threatsp. 94
Stereotype Threat, Weak Bonds, and African American Offendingp. 96
Pejorative Stereotypes and Offendingp. 98
Summaryp. 101
White Collar Crimep. 102
Gender and Crimep. 103
The Significance of Placep. 106
Conclusionsp. 111
Racial Socialization and African American Offendingp. 113
Introductionp. 113
The Different Dimensions of Racial Socializationp. 119
Cultural Socializationp. 120
Preparation for Racial Biasp. 121
Promotion of Mistrustp. 122
Egalitarian Valuesp. 124
Racial Socialization and Racial Identityp. 125
Racial Identity and Offendingp. 128
Racial Socialization and Genderp. 129
Racial Socialization and Social Bondsp. 133
Racial Socialization and the Black Churchp. 137
Racial Socialization, Racial Discrimination, Hostility, Depression, and Offendingp. 138
Coping with Racismp. 140
Our Theory on Racial Socialization and Offendingp. 144
Racial Socialization and Weak Bondsp. 151
Gender and African American Offendingp. 152
Drugs, Gender, and Crimep. 158
Racial Socialization, Place, and Offendingp. 160
Why Place Mattersp. 161
A Theoretical Model of African American Offendingp. 167
The Unique Worldview of African Americansp. 167
African American Offending and Criminal Justice Injusticesp. 167
Criminal justice Injustices and Weakening the Restraints of the Rule of Lawp. 171
African American Offending and Racial Discriminationp. 173
Negative Stereotypesp. 177
Individual Offendingp. 182
Variations in Experiences with Racial Injusticesp. 182
Variations in Racial Socializationp. 183
Our Theoretical Model of African American Offendingp. 186
Gender and African American Offendingp. 190
Place Mattersp. 195
Ethnic Differences in African American Offendingp. 201
Ethnicity and Immigration Statusp. 201
Colorismp. 204
Conclusionp. 204
Epilogue: Environmental Racism and African American Offendingp. 207
Introductionp. 207
Environmental Racismp. 208
The Empirical Research on Environmental Racismp. 210
Race and Proximity to Environmental Toxinsp. 210
The Health Effects of Environmental Racismp. 211
The Deleterious Consequences of Exposure to Leadp. 212
Lead Exposure and Cognitive Impairmentp. 213
Lead Exposure and Educationp. 214
Lead Exposure and Crimep. 215
Lead Exposure and African American Offendingp. 218
Our Theory of African American Offendingp. 219
Environmental Racism and African American Offendingp. 220
Notesp. 225
Referencesp. 233
Indexp. 263
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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