SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: Studies of race and crime have emphasized the effects of social disadvantage and discrimination on increasing crime among African Americans. The authors extend this literature by examining various beliefs and institutions that have developed within African American communities that, in contrast, decrease criminal behavior. A model of cross-canceling, indirect effects between race and crime was developed and tested with data from the National Youth Survey. The results demonstrate that some factors, such as single-parent families, lowered educational attainment, and crime-ridden neighborhoods, increase criminal behavior among African American respondents relative to Whites. However, other factors, such as increased religiosity, strong family ties, and lowered alcohol consumption, decrease crime. These findings highlight the complex effects of race on crime.
Abstract: Much of what we know about crime is myth. Myths are falsehoods that have become accepted as truth because they have been told and retold over time. Many myths of crime revolve around race. This article documents how myths of crime associated with race are created and reinforced through the criminal justice process and the media. The examination begins with the process of lawmaking, demonstrating how American criminal law creates biases against particular groups and benefits others by creating myths about race and crime. The article then analyzes how portrayal of crime in the mass media and activities of law enforcement, courts, and corrections reinforce myths of race and crime. A model of myth creation and reinforcement is presented, and implications of the model for the American criminal justice system and larger society are discussed.