When we think of crime, how do we imagine the offender? Some would say they see a faceless, genderless person because anyone could can commit a crime. However, studies have shown that most people think of a middle-aged man of color when they think of a criminal. The population in most jails and prisons would support this idea of a criminal. But how has this perception and reality of criminal come to be?

Consider this, those most at risk of developing in and becoming a part of criminal activity are those that have lower education levels and lower-income families. Now consider that most people of color have occupations that are low-income and in order to survive off the wages they earn, they cannot afford to only have one job. Most have multiple minimum wage jobs that they have been working in since high school because their family could not survive of the paychecks brought in by their guardians. Their multiple jobs take up most of the time that they have, so they often drop out of school in order to feed their families. This is a common cycle within low-income communities which are often communities of color. The cycle of dropping out of school to help their family make ends-meet making it difficult to advance towards higher education and high paying occupations.

The media does not help the perception of a non-minority criminal with the way they portray criminal justice news. The media coverage on crime is higher for minority criminals than for non-minority criminals. Often when covering a story, the media will use more aggressive vocabulary when describing a crime committed by a person of color such as “thug” or “rioter”. A good example of this can be seen from past new stories about primarily non-minority sport fans celebrating a win or a loss. The media will often use words such as “fun” and “celebration” to describe the fans destroying public property and causing mayhem in the streets. Meanwhile, the acts of peaceful protests of minority groups are portrayed in the media as “riots” and the protestors are “thugs”. The message the media sends with these stories help create and strengthen the perception of people of color as criminals. This perception creates doubt within society discouraging the advancement of minority groups.

In conclusion, the role of race plays in crime is skewed. Minorities are most at risk of committing criminal activities because often the alternative, working multiple minimum wage jobs just to get by, is no better. It is a fact that even if they work hard every single day in those jobs that the most they will ever get is a manager position, which may still be impossible considering most businesses have education requirement for higher positions. This education requirement may not be met since most dropped out of school to help their household make ends-meet. Crime is a symptom of a society that only allows certain socioeconomic levels to prospers off the backs of lower level working citizens.

Pin It

Comments powered by CComment

Search Angels Ad