Walsh Anthony - Race and crime

Author : Walsh Anthony
Title : Race and crime A biosocial analysis
Year : 2009

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Preface. This is a book about race and crime. More specifically, it is a book exploring the extraordinary high rate of crime, particularly violent crime, among African Americans. While I make no excuses in this book for black crime (thus perhaps angering liberals), I do trace many of the problems that beset the African American community to the odious practice of slavery and to the Jim Crow racism that haunted blacks for 100 years after emancipation (thus perhaps angering conservatives). It is not my intention of course to anger anyone, but rather to attempt to tie diverse explanations together in what I hope is a coherent pattern. The legacy of slavery and Jim Crow racism is far from the only explanation for the high rates of black crime, and, of course, most blacks do not commit crimes. Also writing about racial differences in various behaviors, African American sociologist Orlando Patterson (1998:ix) claims that liberals and conservatives "play tiresome and obfuscating games" when they focus on a single area of the causal net. According to Patterson, conservatives believe that only "the proximate internal cultural and behavioral factors are important ('So stop whining and pull up your socks, man!')," and "liberals and mechanistic radicals" believe that "only the proximate and external factors are worth considering ('Stop blaming the victim, racist'!)." Patterson's observation is reminiscent of the ancient Indian parable of the blind men feeling the elephant, each man accurately describing the elephant according to the part of its anatomy he had felt, but failing to appreciate and integrate the views of the others who felt different parts. Because of this failure, the men fell into dispute and departed in anger, each convinced of the utter stupidity, and perhaps even malevolence, of the others. Likewise, if we only concentrate on "feeling" the individual or only the individual's environment, we will continue to confuse the parts with the whole and continue to engage in rancorous debates. I aim to present as balanced a view of the whole elephant as possible in this book. But let us be honest, none of us can cast off our ideological predilections when writing about an emotionally charged topic such as race and crime. I therefore confess to being more of a "pull your socks up" conservative than a "Stop blaming the victim" liberal. Admitting one's ideological biases and striving to confront them will hopefully produce a more balanced account than pretending that one can be entirely neutral. ...

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