Artificial Boundaries Between Criminology and Minority Groups: Inside and Outside of the Classroom

John P. Myers, Rowan University

There are many intersections in the material covered in the two popular undergraduate courses of Criminology and Minority Groups. Minority Groups courses traditionally focus on race and ethnicity and Criminology--using the traditional definition of crime--tends to see racial and ethnic minorities as committing a disproportional amount of crime. This is especially true n the area of illegal drugs. This intersection that some see as very real has come to light outside the classroom in the State of New Jersey where the head of the State Police was recently fired as a result of racial profiling. This is a practice where state police officers target minority males because they believe it is more likely that minority males are drug dealers and/or transporters. Additionally, minorities are over represented in most arrest categories and in prison. I find myself talking about many of the same topics in both classes. This overlap becomes clearer when the instructor uses a conflict perspective. The conection between minority groups, drugs, crime and prisons has been clearly delineated by Angela Davis. She refers to the "prison industrial complex" which she believes has been increasingly funneling young, minority males into prisons for drug and drug-related crimes.

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Updated 05/20/2006