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California State University, Dominguez Hills
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Created: June 22, 2003
Latest Update: September 20, 2006

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Site Teaching Modules CRMJ/SOCA 365: Race, Crime and Law
Week 4: Myths and Realities about Race & Crime
You will be held accountable for purposes of grading for the readings and exercises listed here. There will be no "testing." That means that you will not have to live in anxious anticipation of what we will ask and how much you will have to know. Instead, we will provide weekly discussion questions, lectures, essays, and concepts we feel that you should know as a result of having taken this course. You will assure us of that learning and receive your grade for the questions and concepts about which you choose to write and talk with us. In addition, you will find detailed explanations and examples on our grading policies in the first week's reading.

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Week 4: Week of September 24, 2006

  • Lecture: in class

  • Concepts:
    • race as a biologic/genetic concept
    • race as a social construct
    • Caucasoid
    • Negroid
    • Mongoloid
    • ethnicity
    • hate crime

  • Discussion Questions:
    1. Summarize the arguments between the biologic/genetic concept of race with race as a social construct. Which perspective do you agree with the most? Why.
    2. Does race matter? Why or why not. Should race matter? Why or why not.
    3. What is the difference between race and ethnicity? Provide some examples that illustrate the differences.
    4. The descriptive information in UCR arrest data depicts an overrepresentation of African American offenders for most violent and property crimes. What are the possible explanations for such disparity? Is this picture of the offender the result of differential offending rates or differential enforcement practices? Why. [Walker, p. 71].
    5. Should hate be a crime? What arguments can be made to support the use of sentencing-enchancement penalties for hate crimes? What arguments can be made to oppose such statutes? Are hate crime laws likely to deter offenders and reduce crime? Why. [Walker, p. 71].

  • Ideas and Suggestions for Creative Measures

      Note: Start thinking about ideas for your creative measures. Must relate to "race, crime, law." Must be approved before starting your creative measure. Cannot be something that you are doing or have done for another course. Research cannot be 100% online (i.e., google, askjeeves). Must conduct library research using scholarly works, (not the popular press -- Time Magazine, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated). No term papers! Allow time to dialogue and present your creative measure in class. Email me your idea. Before the absolute final deadline, you need to have completed your visual projects of your learning in this course. Think about how you might demonstrate your learning visually creative way.

    • Explore the symbolism of color. Where did these symbols come from? Why?
    • Explore the connections between: 1) race and sports, 2) race and intelligence or 3) race and crime.
    • Trace the origins and development of "hate crime."
    • Research the 2000 Census data and the latest UCR data for your city and your state. Discuss identified racial and ethnic disparities.
    • View the movie, "Trading Places." Relate this movie the concept of race.

  • Recommended Readings:
    • Joseph Graves. The Race Myth: Why We Pretend Race Exists in America.
    • Richard Hernstein and James Q. Wilson. Crime and Human Nature.
    • Richard Hernstein and Charles Murray . The Bell Curve.
    • Paul Ehrlich. The Race Bomb
    • Richard Goldsby. Race and Races.
    • Robert Blauner. Still the Big News: Racial Oppression in America.
    • Cornel West. Race Matters.
    • William Julius Wilson. The Declining Significance of Race.
    • John Howard Griffin. Black Like Me.

    • The 9-11 Commission Report
    • Alfie Kohn. No Contest. The Case Against Competition.
    • Thomas Kuhn. Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

    • Jurgen Habermas. Between Facts and Norms.
    • Martha Minow. Making All the Difference: Exclusion, Inclusion and American Law. Check out this link Martha Minow on the Dear Habermas site.

    Course Syllabus for CRMJ/SOCA 365-001 (MWF) "Race, Crime, Law"

    Course Syllabus for CRMJ/SOCA 365-002 (TR) "Race, Crime, Law"

  • Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, June 2003.
    "Fair use" encouraged.