Ethnicity and Crime: Criminal Behavior Redefined*

By Otu, Noel; Horton, Nancy A. | African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies : AJCJS, November 2005 | Go to article overview

Ethnicity and Crime: Criminal Behavior Redefined*


Otu, Noel, Horton, Nancy A., African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies : AJCJS


Abstract

Studies dealing with the definition of crime have primarily been concerned with developing hypotheses and theories of universal crime commission and definition. These theories of human behavior may appear plausible on paper but do not work well with people. All the theories of human behavior contain some truth. However, variables do not function one at a time nor can one theory explain all human behavior. These reasons justify studying human behavior from a social context perspective. This paper examines why one ethnic group can be heard praising a behavior while another ethnic group is doing the opposite. Factually, ethnic definition of behavior is the consequence of "Ethnic Differential Opportunity Definition" (EDOD) which states that (behavior) crime is what your ethnic group says it is. The U.S. Supreme Court is slowly accepting the EDOD. In Small v. United States (2005) the highest court narrowed a federal law that prohibits anyone "convicted in any court" of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year from possessing firearms, 18.U.S.C.$922(g)(1). The court ruled that the law does not apply to those who were convicted in (outside their ethnic group) foreign countries. Frankly speaking, it means that felony conviction (crime) does not count and could not be used as the basis for anything if it occurs outside your ethnic group (country).

Introduction:

A notable recent change in America (USA) has been a renewed interest in the connection between ethnicity and crime in which some observers of the American criminal justice system have presented contradictory and sometimes inconclusive findings. The diversity of findings is often attributed to disregarding ethnicity as a cultural attribute, which, if negatively reinforced by society's social responses and interactions or by inequalities, gives rise to (conflict) crime. As varied ethnic groups encounter different experiences in a heterogeneous culture, ethnic differences and group criminality are inevitable. Ethnicity and Crime: Criminal Behavior Redefined is designed to provide understanding and to prepare us for reality.

Ethnic group in this article means a group of people 'who share a feeling of "peoplehood." The purpose here is to demonstrate that all people interact not just as individuals, but also as members indebted to particular ethnic groups. Hence, individuals see criminality and the criminal justice system differently, depending on the historical social context of each person's ethnic group.

Prior Research:

The dominant criminological studies of ethnicity and crime have long taken the form of order theories (Pincus & Ehrlich, 1994) in which the central focus is on progressive adaptation to the dominant culture and on stability in intergroup relations (Bonacich, 1980; Gordon, 1963; Hieschman, 1983; Hullum, 1973; Park & Burgess, 1924; Devore and London, 1999).

Ethnicity is based on the conditions of being different because of cultural background-by religion, race, family patterns, national origin, and other characteristics. It is these differences in identity and social experience that give rise to the belief that the behaviors of various ethnic groups are different and that their views on criminality are also different. Most prior research has not addressed these characteristics adequately.

Issues:

Ethnicity is very significant in all societies, and particularly in America (USA), especially among fourth and fifth generation persons of European, African, Hispanic, and other heritages. In fact, the current national emphasis on ethnicity is affecting the U.S. criminal justice system in a manner that causes concern, including, but not limited to, "Racial Profiling, Hate Crimes, Muslems-9/11, etc". The United States is now at a point in history when we can no longer be blind to the many ethnic groups, particularly those of color, that are steadily growing in our midst (McAdoo 1999, p. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ethnicity and Crime: Criminal Behavior Redefined*
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.