California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: July 27, 2003
Latest Update: September 20, 2007
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 23, 2007
Note: You should be researching your preapproved creative measure(s). Conduct a review of the literature. Maintain a bibliography of scholarly sources cited in your visual project(s) to be submitted at midterm.
Topic: Myths and Realities about Race & Crime
- NEW Continuation of Bell Curve Genetics Arguments
- NEW Social Solidarity - Bogardus' Social Distance Scale
- Gordon Fellman. Rambo and the Dalai Lama. -- entire book.
- Samuel Walker and others. The Color of Justice. Chapter 2.
- Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic. The Derrick Bell Reader . Chapter 1 & 2.
- Video: "" (to be shown in class)
Lecture related links:
- Sticks and Stones -- Labelling Matters.
- Other Gordon Fellman related materials on the Dear Habermas site.
- "theory, policy, practice"
- "Who's Habermas? Why Habermas?"
- W.I. Thomas "Definition of the Situation
- Those Infamous Grades and Letters of Recommendation
- "The Case Against Gold Stars" by Alfie Kohn.
Concepts to be covered:
- race as a biologic/genetic concept
- race as a social construct
- hate crime
- economic determinism
- interest convergence
- racial realism
- critical race theory
Note: In order to answer these discussion questions, you will need to do the assigned readings for this week.
- 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. Does race matter? Why or why not. Should race matter? Why or why not.
- 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].
- 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].
- What accounts for the uneven trajectory of black fortunes, with periods of advance followed inexorably by ones of steady retreat? [D&S, p. 25]
- According to Derrick Bell, what is critical race theory? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Do you agree with critical race theory? Why or why not?
Suggested 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). You are expected to turn in a bibliography with each visual project. No term papers! Allow time to dialogue and present your creative measure in class. Email me your ideas ASAP.
- 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 latest 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.
- Trace the development of "critical race theory"? Where does this theory come from? Why?
- 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.
- 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.
- Desmond Tutu. No Future Without Forgiveness.