Political Culture of Race and Racism Essay

Pages: 4 (1248 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Race

¶ … Political Culture of Racism and Criminology

Race is not only a biological determination of skin color and ethnicity. It is also a social construct, meaning that "it is defined and created by those in power in a society, and those definitions change as conditions change" (Apple and Aasen 65). As such, the notion that people of certain races are disproportionately incarcerated because of some innate trait or predisposition that causes them to commit crimes is visibly erroneous. There is no "criminal gene" that is passed on from generation to generation. The fact is, society has created the conditions that perpetuate criminal activity in certain races due to prejudice, discrimination, isolation and oppression.

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In the 21st century, at its most basic level, the forces of racial prejudice still subjugate freedom by giving whites more access to a wide variety of resources, opportunities and advantages that are simply not afforded to minorities for no other reason than the color of their skin. Thus perhaps whites need to struggle with how the ongoing access to those freedoms and privileges has shaped their self-perception and warped their worldview. Paul Gordon Lauren asserts that power and privilege in modern society is vested in the white race, and society revolves around that power structure. He adds that it shapes our understanding of what is worthwhile, valuable and beautiful and that it influences us in both blatant and subtle ways. Yet he also points out that until we begin to rethink these premises, first as individuals and then collectively, we will remain intolerant.

TOPIC: Essay on Political Culture of Race and Racism Assignment

Research has shown that human beings are not born with behaviors that are fully developed. There are certain personality traits that are inherited, but that does not automatically predispose people to certain behaviors. Behaviors primarily differ as a result of the environment in which an individual develops. Which personality traits are nurtured or disregarded is highly reliant on how a person is raised, the experiences they have, and the values they develop from those experiences.

Environmental factors also explain why some individuals tend to become 'career criminals' and re-offend time and time again. While some elitists prefer to think that being a criminal is simply in someone's nature, Halsey conducted a longitudinal study that provides a deeper understanding of the tendency to repeatedly commit crimes. Halsey conducted a five-year study in which he interviewed 47 juvenile offenders in depth. Of those, twenty five were interviewed multiple times upon committing multiple offenses. As of the article's publication in 2007, only four years of the study had been completed. From the data that had been gathered to that point however, a great deal of pertinent information was obtained. Most significantly, Halsey concluded that:

"Data from this research to date overwhelmingly illustrate that the vast majority of young men who have spent significant and repeated time in custodial environments return to such environments shortly after release. However, so-called chronic offending and repeat incarceration has...as much to do with risky and unpredictable systems of management as they do with the so-called 'innate' risks and unpredictability attributed to particular 'clients' or young custodial subjects" (149).

A great deal of sociological study is based on the quest of determining an explanation for deviant and criminal behavior. For example, Travis Hirschi is responsible for the development of social control theory, (also known as social bonding theory) which emphasizes the role of social bonding in preventing people from engaging in deviant behaviors such as crime or addiction. Hirschi was concerned with how people learn to avoid antisocial behaviors rather than with how people learn to engage in such behaviors, since he assumes that humans are, by nature, self-centered and hedonistic. Hirschi posited that antisocial behavior occurs when the individual fails to bond with conventional… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Political Culture of Race and Racism.  (2010, February 6).  Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/political-culture-race-racism/3238

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"Political Culture of Race and Racism."  6 February 2010.  Web.  27 July 2021. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/political-culture-race-racism/3238>.

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"Political Culture of Race and Racism."  Essaytown.com.  February 6, 2010.  Accessed July 27, 2021.