Laura Fisherman and Black Crime
Addressing crime is a need in every society and the focus of every government across the world. However, studies from the past have demonstrated that crime restitution actions are in most cases characterized by preferential treatment whereby offenders are accorded punishments based on their ethnic (racial) backgrounds and gender. In Fisherman’s opinion, the male offender has received significant attention to his plight relative to the female offender. Furthermore, crime is in most cases associated with a specific gender and specific race. This implies that the justice system is lopsided and incapable of meting justice in a manner that gives a listening ear to those considered more vulnerable to crime. Fishman (1998) in ‘The Black Bogeyman and White Self-righteousness,’ describes the perception held by the traditional white society about the African- Americans in regards to their potential to commit crime. As much as several explanations have been given for the high incarceration rates of African-Americans in the traditional societies, they are not necessarily more susceptible to crime than others.
Explanations for the high rates of incarceration include sociological reasons, and also the public focus on black crime among other factors. Studies have shown that urbanization and poverty are also drivers towards black crime. Nonetheless, blacks engage in crime for the same reasons that any other race would engage in crimes. Poverty and unemployment are some of the major reasons for the increasing prevalence of crime, particularly in urban regions. Perceptions should not play a role in determining whether an individual is guilty of a crime or not. As such, the perception of black crime should not be the rationale for considering every black as a potential criminal. More objective criminal procedures consider personal values and characters as a pointer to criminal tendency.
Fishman, L.T. (1998). The black bogeyman and white self-righteousness. In Mann, C.R. & Zatz, M. (Eds.), Images of Color; Images of Crime. Los Angeles: Roxbury