What is the Race of Criminals?

by mimeault.eric on September 9, 2015 - 12:27pm

In the article entitled, “Depictions of race on TV news can influence perception of police” written by, North Carolina State University, (Science Daily, March 16, 2015), the author goes over the study done on how TV news influences the perception of police. Recent research says that blacks are represented too much as criminals and are represented under the law enforcement in newscasts. The researchers at the university wanted to confirm this study by having their own experiment done. Their experiment was done by the researchers creating 4 groups with different scenarios. Each group having a different number of black and white criminals in a newscasts. They divided 180 undergraduate students equally and had them watch one of the 4 newscasts. Once the participants watched one of the newscasts, they were asked to scale 1-7 their support to the police. The results were that whites had the same scale (3 out of 7) no matter how many whites or blacks were showed has criminals. On the hand the blacks had more support (4 out of 7) when more whites were showed as criminals and very little support (2.5 out of 7) when more blacks were represented as criminals. In conclusion, the author discusses that the experiment did in fact confirm that depending on the race, there is a different perspective on the law enforcement. The author also, discusses this experiment does not go over

In the article, “Depictions of race on TV news can influence perception of police,” written by North Carolina State University, the author suggests that the population has a different perspective of the police and law enforcement depending on the race of the criminals shown on newscasts. In his experiment its does confirm this statement but there is still a lot of different factors that could influence the population’s perspective on the police. For example, the criminals age. If the newscast shows a man of any race at the age of 80 years old, there would not be a lot of support due to an unrealistic age for a criminal. If the newscast showed again someone of any race in his or her mid-twenties, the police would have more support because it is more realistic. This article also reinforces the biological concept of race. In the article the author says, “We wanted to see what affect these representations have on audiences of different races."(North Carolina State University, 2015, para. 1) Yet he goes on in the article only describing blacks and whites. There are a lot more different races in the world then just blacks and whites. Also, who knows if the suspects shown in the newscasts were actually “black” or “white”? There are different shades of skin colour and it is almost impossible to actually categorize people in “black” or “white” categories. I do agree that the study does prove that different audiences have different perspectives on the police and law enforcement but, is it necessary to view it with only “blacks” or “whites”. The author conclude that there is much more variables to the case of racial perceptions on the law enforcement, but the main article only talks about blacks and whites. If the author continued his research to find these missing variables would it be complete due to his lack of thought on races. 





  North Carolina State University. (2015, March 16). Depictions of race on TV news can influence perception of police. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 7, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150316122508.htm



I’ve chosen to respond to this article because much like Eric’s comment, I agree with him that there is more than just black and whites that can commit crime, everyone can. A 7 year old child can commit a crime by taking something off the shelf in a store however in the article “Depictions of race on TV news can influence perception of police” written by, North Carolina State University, they say that the severity of the crime depends on the race. In one case the Oklahoma City Bombing, they first accused the criminal of being Middle Eastern or brown male of the incident, only to find out that the perpetrator was a young, white, Irish adolescent. McVeigh the criminal was sentenced to death row, the pigmentation of his skin didn’t necessarily determine what he did was good or bad, if it’s bad then you get the same sentencing as everybody else. Also under consideration that this was a large-scale attack, it wasn’t for something such as physical assault or something where the individual might seem questionable it was a charge that everybody knew the outcome of McVeigh’s acts would lead him to death row.