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Presentation on theme: "THE COLOUR OF CRIME; POLICING “RACE” © Dr. Francis Adu-Febiri, 2015 RACIAL RISK."— Presentation transcript:


2 Presentation Contents n n Introduction: Racial Risk & Racial Profiling n n Stories of Policing Race n n Consequences of Policing Race n n Sociological Claims of Policing Race n n Major Concepts of Race and Ethnic Relations n n Theoretical Perspectives

3 Introduction: RACIAL RISK n n “Racial Risk” is the particular constellation of dangers associated with being in a racialized group in society (Adu-Febiri 2014).

4 Introduction: RACIAL RISK n n According to a recent study of more than 1 million online daters in the US, white people, for the most part, are likely to receive messages from daters outside their racial group, but white women in particular tend to respond only to messages from white men. Black daters, especially women, tend to be ignored when they contact daters from other racial groups. Lavalife, a Toronto based dating site, conducted a poll on race that produced similar findings (Lin & Lundquist 2013, Tepperman 2015).

5 RACIAL RISK is High for People of Colour than “Whitened” people Labour Market: Employment & Income Housing: Mortgage Market Criminal Justice System Health Care System Credit Markets Educational Access: Attainment School Segregation Residential Segregation DISCRIMINATION Source: Reskin 2012, cited in Tepperman 2015, p. 266

6 Racial Profiling in the Criminal Justice System n “Racializing Crime While Criminalizing Minorities” n imJRc imJRc imJRc n Racial profiling is the police targeting physical appearance (usually non-whitened bodies) rather than behavior of designated groups in dealing with crime and potential crime (David Tanovic The Culture of Justice: The Policing of Race). n old-who-blew-the-lid-off-racial-profiling- with-his-ipod old-who-blew-the-lid-off-racial-profiling- with-his-ipod old-who-blew-the-lid-off-racial-profiling- with-his-ipod

7 Racial Profiling in the Criminal Justice System n “BLACK AND TARGETED” (CNN, November 17, 2014)


9 STRORIES OF POLICING RACE n OUSKvU&feature=related OUSKvU&feature=related OUSKvU&feature=related

10 STRORIES OF POLICING RACE n n In the USA and Canada compared to their proportion of the population, “blacks” are 10 times more likely than “whites” to be shot [or beaten up] at by the police (Wortley 2005)

11 STRORIES OF POLICING RACE n n Using the evidence at the level of policing in minority communities, the police have been criticized for underpolicing (i.e., slow response rates), for overpolicing (i.e., excessive and unnecessary coverage), and for mispolicing (i.e., prejudicial and discriminatory enforcement) (Holdaway 1996, Fridel eta al 2001, CRRF 2003, MacDonald 2003, Tanovich 2006).

12 STRORIES OF POLICING RACE n n Not surprisingly, according to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, both Black and Aboriginal youth accuse the police of racist and abusive treatment despite initiatives to repair the breach (Friesen 2007).

13 STRORIES OF POLICING RACE n Latinos in the Lower Mainland feel they are frequently stopped by the police when driving, walking on the streets, and waiting for public transit (Riano-Alcala 1999: 15).

14 STRORIES OF POLICING RACE n n The consequences of this interactional breakdown have had the effect of racializing crime while criminalizing minorities (Henry and Tator 2006).


16 NON-WHITE SKIN AND CRIME IN CANADA n Because the police tend to police race (Henry et al 2000, p. 302), u There is “disproportionate number of people of colour in the court and prison system” (Henry et al, 2000: 178). u This social construction of crime contributes to the fact that, in Canada “the image of crime is dark” skin (Mann and Zatz 1998: )

17 Blacks in the Canada’s Justice System n Crawford, Alison, 2011, CBC News, December 2011 n ( 11/12/14/crawford-black-prison.html) 11/12/14/crawford-black-prison.html 11/12/14/crawford-black-prison.html % of Population% of Federal Jails% of Federal Jails in Ontario 2.5%9.12%20.0%

18 Aboriginals in Canada’s Justice System % of Population% of Provincial Prisoner Population % of Federal Prisoner Population 5.4%21%18.5% Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Correctional Service Canada, 2006

19 ABORIGINALS IN PROVINCIAL PRISONS % of Population% of Prisoner Population Saskatchewan14.9%80% Manitoba14.5%71% Alberta BC 5.8% 4.8% 39% 79% Statistics Canada, 2006


21 Policing Race falls into the “PATTERNS OF DOMINANT GROUPS’ INTERACTION WITH MINORITY GROUPS” (Ravelli 2013, pp ) n n PATTERNS: Racialized groups are targeted for: n n 1. Genocide n n 2. Expulsion n n 3. Segregation & Separation n n 4. Assimilation n n 5. Multiculturalism n n 6. Criminalization u u These are mechanisms used to exclude, marginalize or control racialized peoples (minorities).

22 THE CENTRALITY OF THE BODY IN RACIALIZED STRATIFICATION n “…the body is central to race, gender, and sexuality, but not so central to class and ethnicity” (K. Anthony Appiah 2014, p. 432 in James Fearganis Readings in Social Theory)


24 THE WHY & HOW OF RACIALIZATION OF CRIME SOCIAL STRATIFICATION CRIMINALS MINORITYMINORITY POLICE MEDIA Racialization “Racialization of crime is developed primarily by the police but communicated and perpetuated by the Canadian media” (Henry et al, 2000: 302). 1. Criminalized activities as a major means of survival for minorities. 2. Overpolicing and mispolicing of racialized minorities Criminalization



27 MAJOR CONCEPTS n Racialization n Racialism n Racialized Groups n Racial Groups n Race n Ethnicity n Racism n Racist n Racism and Racists n Visible Minority n Racialized Minority u All these are representations of realities that are SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED

28 Socially Constructed n When sociologists say something is “socially constructed” they mean: u The characteristics deemed relevant to the definitions of that thing is based on societal values (Gallagher 2007, p. 2). n In this context, Race and Ethnicity are social products based on cultural values, not scientific facts (Gallagher 2007, p. 2.).

29 Socially Constructed n Race and Ethnicity are socially constructed and used to produce and reproduce racialization, racialism, racism, racists, and minorities

30 1. RACIALIZATION n n Simple Definition: n n The process of using the natural variation in human skin color as a way to sort people into groups, putting them in a hierarchy, and justifying exploitation based on skin color (Gallagher 2007, p. 5)

31 1. RACIALIZATION n Technical Definition: n A process of constructing people into inferior or superior racial categories that block/limit or facilitate their access to valued societal resources (property, power, prestige, and privilege). n The results or products of this social construction process are u “RACE” u ETHNICITY u MINORITY u RACISM u RACISTS u CRIMINALIZATION OF RACIALIZED GROUPS

32 2. RACIALISM n n Differentiation or categorization of people according to their race or ethnicity (Tepperman portrays this process also as racialization: 2015, p. 248)

33 3. RACIALIZED GROUPS n n According to Majority Scholars’ perspective: Racialized groups are people collectively constructed into superior and inferior racial categories based on their phenotypes and/or genotypes: u u 1 st: “White” u u 2 nd : “Yellow” u u 3 rd: “Brown” u u 4 th : “Red” u u 5 th : “Black” u u “Mixed” usually ranked as part of the inferior groups n n According to Minority Scholars’ perspective: Racialized groups are people collectively constructed into inferior or devalued racial categories. Sociologists call this RACIALIZED MINORITIES, an equivalent concept is Statistics Canada’s MINORITIES: F F Visible Minorities and Invisible Minorities u u Non-whitened groups of people.

34 4. RACIAL GROUPS n n People grouped into categories based on their phenotypes and/or genotypes, but not rank-ordered into superior or inferior. Negroid Caucasoid Mongoloid Americanus

35 5. RACE n As Phil Bartle (2005) insightfully concludes, u genetics cannot be used to determine racial categories because there are no genetic boundaries between what we call “races”

36 5. RACE n RACE AND THE BODY: n Although “race” is not a biological/genetic phenomenon, the BODY is central to race, in that “race” is ascribed to the body and the body is made the focus of racial identification (K. Anthony Appiah 2014, p. 432).

37 5. RACE n A FOCUS ON OUTSIDE THE BODY n From a sociological perspective, ‘RACE’, like culture, is socially constructed and learned. n This perspective is well captured by Charles Cooley’s Looking-Glass-Self Thesis or what is conventionally referred to as Self-fulfilling Prophesy: n When people are defined as a ‘race’ and given a role related to the ‘race’ by others, they acquire a group identity and become oppressed or privileged, and then use the idiom of ‘race’ in relation to themselves, their identities and grievances (Miles and Brown 2003: 6).

38 6. RACISM n n RACISM AS IDEOLOGY n Beliefs, doctrines, and theories that suggest that human population groups constitute races, and that some human populations groups are biologically superior or inferior to others (Miles and Brown 2003: 51). n OLD RACISM: Based on the BODY

39 6. RACISM n PREJUDICE, STEREOTYPE & DISCRIMINATION n Specifically, RACISM is prejudice, stereotype and/or discrimination constructed by a dominant group around superficial physical characteristics such as skin color perceived as inferior in the context of human phenotypic diversity with the objective to prevent racialized minority from having access to socially defined valued resources (Naiman 2000).

40 6. RACISM n DISCRIMINATION is “Treating someone differently or unfairly because of a personal characteristic or distinction, which, whether intentional or not, has an effect of imposing disadvantages not imposed on others or which withholds or limits access to opportunities, benefits and advantages available to other individuals or classes of individuals in society” (Courtesy Public Services Alliance of Canada and Treasury Board Secretariat, January 2004).

41 7. RACIST n Since racism, like any “ism”, applies to acts of discrimination that occur at the collective level (or when it occurs at the individual level, are consistent with institutional patterns of discrimination) and works in favour of dominant group members and against minority groups (McIntyre 2006: 232), a racist could only be: n A person from a dominant group. That is, a person from a racialized minority group could not be racist (against dominant group members), but rather is a target of racism. n Therefore, reversed racism, as indicated in the statement below, is a contradiction in terms: u While we don’t notice systematic unfairness, we do observe specific efforts to redress it — such as affirmative action, which often strikes white men as profoundly unjust. Thus a majority of white Americans surveyed in a 2011 study said that there is now more racism against whites than against blacks (Nicholas Kristof, Feb. 21, 2015). a 2011 studya 2011 study u. u ( talk-for-white-men.html?referrer&_r=1) talk-for-white-men.html?referrer&_r=1 talk-for-white-men.html?referrer&_r=1 u

42 8. RACISM and RACISTS n None of these examples (of systematic unfairness to racialized people and females) mean exactly that society is full of hard-core racists and misogynists. Eduardo Bonilla- Silva, a Duke University sociologist, aptly calls the present situation “Racism without Racists” [racism without racists]; it could equally be called “misogyny without misogynists.” Of course, there are die-hard racists and misogynists out there, but the bigger problem seems to be well-meaning people who believe in equal rights yet make decisions that inadvertently transmit both racism and sexism (Nicholas Kristof, Feb. 21, 2015). racism without racistsracism without racists n straight-talk-for-white-men.html?referrer&_r=1 straight-talk-for-white-men.html?referrer&_r=1 straight-talk-for-white-men.html?referrer&_r=1

43 9. ETHNICITY: “New Racism”. n Like “Race”, Ethnicity is socially constructed, but the BODY is not supposed so central to ethnicity: n It is a social phenomenon that represents a group of people with a common identity based on ancestry, nationality and/or culture (particularly language, customs and religion). n However, because of the unnecessary conflation of ancestry and culture, the BODY has been very central to ethnicity too. n NEW RACISM: Based on CULTURE


45 “RACE”, RACISM AND CRIME IN CANADA: Theoretical Perspectives n FUNCTIONALIST PARADIGM: Homeostasis n Racialization of crime in Canada is functional because it contributes to social cohesion and stability: n Function #1: Contributes to job creation n Function #2: Rationalizes and facilitates assimilation n Function #3: Reinforces social solidarity in dominant group n Function #4: Makes resources and opportunities available to dominant group members n Function #5: Makes it difficult for minorities to successfully challenge existing social conventions of the dominant group

46 “RACE”, RACISM AND CRIME IN CANADA: Theoretical Perspectives n SOCIAL CONFLICT PARADIGM: Competition and Power Inequality n Capitalist societies such as Canada create competition for resources that results in the upper/middle Class people having the economic and political power to shape laws and criminal justice system that make the police and the media process lower class people (proportional majority of racialized minorities happen to be in this class) as criminals to eliminate them from the competition for resources.

47 “RACE”, RACISM AND CRIME IN CANADA: Theoretical Perspectives n INTERACTIONIST PARADIGM: Human Agency & Definition of crime: n The police and the media subjectively define and label minorities as deviants/criminals and some of the minorities define this label positively, interact with it as such and internalize the criminal label to become criminals—Self- fulfilling prophesy!

48 “RACE”, RACISM AND CRIME IN CANADA: Theoretical Perspectives n FEMINIST PARADIGM: Western Patriarchy n Feminization of Race: n The perception of non-white groups as “a feminine race” or possessing “feminine racial characteristics” (Pon 1996:50), and the fact that racism and gender have the same root--socially constructed “natural inferiority of minorities and women” (Allahar 1995: 186). n Feminization & Racialization of Poverty: n Sexism leads to inequality and oppression that render women poor, and racist globalization aggravates this poverty for racialized minority women. Some of these impoverished racialized women resort to crime to survive.

49 “RACE”, RACISM AND CRIME IN CANADA: Theoretical Perspectives n Illustration #1: n Illustration #1: Aboriginal women make up over 20% of Canada's female prison population, but only 2% of the female population of Canada. Illustration #2: “To become more competitive in the global economy, countries cut social services. For poor white women, women of colour and Aboriginal women this can make criminalized activities the only way to survive,” says Dr. Sudbury. Illustration #2: “To become more competitive in the global economy, countries cut social services. For poor white women, women of colour and Aboriginal women this can make criminalized activities the only way to survive,” says Dr. Sudbury.

50 CONCLUSION n n [Racial] discrimination and prejudice remain problematic in many Western societies, where the majority of people claim to support the idea of ethno-racial equality, and legislation that would bring about that goal. Nonetheless, research continues to find that ethno-racial inequality is still evident in virtually all societies—especially in the areas of employment, housing, wealth, health, and criminal justice (Tepperman 2015, p. 276).

51 n SAMPLE FINAL EXAM QUESTION: n The arrests and imprisonment of Blacks, Aboriginals and Latinos is at rates above Canadian average. What do you think is the cause of this pattern and what solution do you suggest to this problem? Which of the criminological theories and their corresponding sociological paradigms would agree with your answer and why?

52 REFERENCES n Aylward, Carol A. (1999). Canadian Critical Race Theory: Racism and the Law. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing. n Deroche, C. and John Deroche. (1991). “Black and White: Racial Construction in Television Police Drama”. Canadian Ethnic Studies. 23(3):

53 REFERENCES n Fleras, A. and Jean L. Elliott. (2010). Unequal Relations: An Introduction to Race, Ethnic and Aboriginal Dynamics in Canada. Scarborough: Prentice-Hall. n Gallagher, Charles A (ed.) Rethinking the Color Line: Readings in Race and Ethnicity. Third Edition. Boston: McGraw Hill n Henry, F. (1994). The Caribbean Diaspora in Canada. Toronto: U of Toronto Press. n Henry, F. (Forthcoming). The Racialization of Crime by the Print Media. Toronto: School of Journalism, Ryerson Polytechnic University.

54 REFERENCES n Henry, F., Carol Tator, Winston Mattis and Tim Rees. (2000). The Colour of Democracy: Racism in Canadian Society. Second Edition. Toronto: Harcourt Brace. n James, Carl E. (1998). “‘Up to no Good’, Black on the Streets and Encountering Police”. In Vic Satzewich (ed.). Racism and Social Inequality in Canada: Concepts, Controversies & Strategies for Resistance. Toronto: TEP. n Kristof, Nicholas, (2015). “Straight Talk for White Men”, New York Times, February 21, The Opinion Column.

55 REFERENCES n Li, Peter S. (ed.). (1999). Race and Ethnic Relations in Canada. Second Edition. Don Mills: Oxford University Press. n Lin, Ken-Hou & Jennifer Lundquist “Mate Selection in Cyberspace: The Interaction of Race, Gender and Education”. American Journal of Sociology 119, 1, n McIntyre, Lisa. (2006). The Practical Skeptic: Core Concepts in Sociology, Third Edition. Boston: McGraw Hill. n Mosher, C.L. (1998). Discrimination and Denial: Systemic Racism in Ontario’s Legal and Criminal Justice Systems, Toronto: University of Toronto Press. n Tepperman, Lorne Starting Points: A Sociological Journey. Second Edition. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press. n Thomas, Jennifer “Adult Correctional Services in Canada ” Juristat. June 2000, pp

56 REFERENCES n Riano-Alcala, Pilar. (1999). The Impact of the “Drug-War” on the Latin American Community of Vancouver. Final Report. Vancouver: Social Planning, City of Vancouver, and the Latin American Community Council (LACC).

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