Talk:Criminal stereotype of African Americans

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"Representation" vs. "ratio"[edit]

With regard to edits like this, I cannot make out what the rationale is for changing this. "Ratio" is an ambiguous term that can refer to comparative quantities or to the proportion of a quantity with respect to a whole. It is also not the best style. There seems to be some objection being raised here, but I cannot make it out. If you want to make this change, please provide a detailed explanation of your reasons here. Thanks. Gavia immer (talk) 07:39, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Ratio means proportion, and
U.S. incarceration rates by race, June 30, 2006:
Whites: 409 per 100,000
Latinos: 1,038 per 100,000
Blacks: 2,468 per 100,000
I enjoy eggs (talk) 21:48, 7 January 2011 (UTC)


Whoever wrote this article has a totally bare political agenda. This article is written from the Marxist-Leninist perspective. Daniels Weeking (talk) 01:00, 9 January 2011 (UTC).

Why is that? I enjoy eggs (talk) 07:16, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, where exactly does this article show sign of being based on an analysis of revolutionary material historicism? Are you sure you don't just mean that it doesn't seem to have been written by a republican?·Maunus·ƛ· 20:43, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Anyone to the left of Mussolini = Liberal Socialist Yankee Marxist. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:19, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
Somehow this article managed to avoid ever mentioning that well over HALF of the violent crimes in the US are committed by Black men, who make up no more than 6% of the US population. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:17, 17 June 2012 (UTC)


The article flatly contradicts the notion that the cause of the stereotype is the statistical overrepresentation of blacks in the American penal system. Firstly the stereotype exists outside of the US, secondly the article states that the stereotype goes back to slavery. It would require a very good secondary source to state that the cause is any one particular thing - as an unsourced statement it cannot even be included.·Maunus·ƛ· 12:16, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

No it doesn't say anything about "the stereotype goes back to slavery.", and it existing out of the US just drives the point home. There is another discussion about this higher in the talk page that has a source. I enjoy eggs (talk) 03:32, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
You will have t be a lot more specific than that. And as I said not just any source will do this is clearly a red flag issue that requires an extraordinarily good source that explicitly says that this is the cause of the stereotype.·Maunus·ƛ· 12:21, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Though the stereotype exists outside the US, it is also true that blacks are overrpresented in the penal systems of virtually every state on earth in which they are a significant minority population. It is almost certainly true that the former at least contributes to the latter. It is certainly a more likely explanation than an appeal to the content of political speeches by Republicans that make no overt mention of race, yet we allow that causal argument to stand on the basis of an activist source. (talk) 23:48, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

POV tag and the explanation[edit]

What POV issues remain? Regarding the explanation bit, the source is (page 277):

Welch, Kelly (August 2007). "Black Criminal Stereotypes and Racial Profiling". Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 23 (3): 276–288. doi:10.1177/1043986207306870.

The relevant bit is:

"It is likely that the foremost contributor to the formation of the public's association between Blacks and criminality is the sheer number of Blacks represented in crime statistics and the criminal justice system. We would expect that if Blacks were disproportionately involved in criminal activity and consequently overrepresented as convicted criminals by the criminal justice system, they would be perceived as being more involved in crime and criminal justice measures than are others."

The sentence was originally sourced (without in-text), then deleted, then re-added without the source. I then added the source with in-text attribution (in case there are POV problems), and deleted the image. My edit was reverted (with summary "readd tag") and the reverter, Maunus, doesn't seem to have looked at my edit too carefully, because his second edit then removed the image and claimed that the sentence was unsourced. Christopher Connor (talk) 18:28, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

That is not a sufficiently reliable source for such a stroing claim. It is firsly a speculation "one might suspect" gives away that this is a personal speculation not backed by empirical research. There are also logical inconsistencies with it for example the stereotype is historically very old and probably predates the current criminal statistics. In short the claim is a WP:REDFLAG issue and would require a much better source to suggest that this is indeed the most widely believed explanation. Secondly the fact that the article doesn't discuss the historical development of the stereotype or how it is implicated in issues such as racial profiling, the general history of racial disparities in the American criminal justice system, the worldwide context of the stereotype (not all countries have it - e.g. in India Lower caste Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims are stereotyped as more criminal than others not Blacks), it also doesn't discuss the possible causal explanations apart from the speculation by Welch. All of this indicates persisting fundamental POV problems. ·Maunus·ƛ· 18:48, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Also it turns out the source doesn't support the claim at all. Welch actually concludes: "The current recognizability of the image of a young Black criminal has been the result of various representations of crime. Contributions to this relationship that many identify between African Americans and criminality include actual involvement in crime, especially crack cocaine violations and violent offenses. Blacks do account for a disproportionate amount of crime arrests and are disproportionately convicted and incarcerated. But public estimates of Black criminality surpass the reality. The media perpetuate ideas linking race with criminality, which have also been reinforced by political agendas. The temporary efficacy of using a racial hoax to mislead law enforcement and the public has capitalized on and strengthened views about race and crime. All of these phenomena have served to solidify the stereotype of the young Black man as a criminal threat among the public in contemporary American society, which then fuels the practice of racial profiling by criminal justice officials. The prevalent typification of Blacks as criminals seems to justify law enforcement tactics that exploit race in criminal investigations. Only when criminal justice personnel recognize that the sources of these stereotypes are flawed or based on discriminatory practices themselves will the rationale for maintaining the unofficial policy and practice of racial profiling of criminals be negated. When the association between race and criminality ceases to be compelling, it will be apparent that racial profiling serves no useful purpose." (my emphases)·Maunus·ƛ· 02:40, 7 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't see how that piece isn't a reliable source. According to this page, the journal is "guest-edited by an expert in the topic being studied and contains contributions from leading researchers and scholars. In this journal, you'll receive authoritative, balanced examinations on a variety of critical issues in criminal justice today, written and assembled by the most experienced and knowledgeable scholars." Kelly Welch herself is an assistant professor at Villanova University and holds an Ph.D in criminology from Florida State University [1]. I can't see how the sentence is a red flag issue: if one group commits more crime than another group, it wouldn't be remarkable for there to be an association between that group and crime, a point Welch makes. I don't see the text you produced as contradicting the earlier text, merely elaborating on it; indeed, she reiterates the earlier point, while saying there are other reasons. Christopher Connor (talk) 05:23, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Also, what are the outstanding POV issues? Christopher Connor (talk) 05:27, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
It surely is a reliable source, but the source was misrepresented to support the opposite pov of the one she expressed! That is a POV problem and it runs through the entire article. The article does n ot adequately explain the history or the atucality of the stereotype, nor does it adequately summarise the conclusions of its own sources.·Maunus·ƛ· 11:59, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Your characterisation of what was in this article is not quite accurate given that it closely followed the wording of the Welch article. If anything, the Welch article seems to contradict itself by saying actual crime contributes but that the sources of the stereotype are flawed. In any case, how shall we summarise that article? As for POV problems, you'll have to give specific examples rather than general assertions. The lack of history is not in itself a POV problem. Christopher Connor (talk) 12:28, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes it cherry picked a quote that happened to give the opposite impression of her general conclusion. I have given sufficient examples.·Maunus·ƛ· 12:30, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
You don't seem to understand. A lack of information is not in itself a POV problem. At the very least, you will have to give relevant sources that contain what you think should be in the article. There really was no cherry picking involved. I hadn't read the whole article when writing that sentence. Christopher Connor (talk) 12:45, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
That is what cherry picking means.·Maunus·ƛ· 12:47, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
In that case, you need to look up the definition of cherry picking. Talking to you is becoming more and more pointless so unless you provide sources with information of what's missing in the article or give specific examples of POV in the article, I'll be removing the tag in due course. Christopher Connor (talk) 12:57, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Why would you include a quote from an article you havent actually read? If you remove the POV tag without fixing the problems I will of course have to reinsert it. I have stated my case, that you don't get it is really not my problem.·Maunus·ƛ· 13:00, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Christopher Connor. Maunus, why did you delete the material on the stereotype having some factual cause? Miradre (talk) 13:03, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Honestly, for this to be a reasonable article, it needs to have a LOT more research and scholarship done on it, and really it might be more properly merged with an article on racism. What about redlining in housing after World War II? What about early developments in the US colonies regarding class and color in the eyes of the law? There are a series of well-researched essays (here) that might help you in researching. -- Avanu (talk) 14:01, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Cesare Lombroso[edit]

The work of this Italian criminologist is misrepresented, as he spent more time on criminal anthropometry, believing individual characteristics of skull, etc. were indicative of criminality, not race. He was more influential in Europe than the US, where sociological appraisals of criminality were more powerful; and a contemporary English researcher showed his work was statistically invalid. This much is in the Wikipedia article on him, suggesting how far off this current article is.Parkwells (talk) 16:09, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

I added the lombroso material to show that there is a long history of scientific racism in criminology, going back to Lombroso often referred to as its founder.·Maunus·ƛ· 18:26, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
I added more to show what he was writing about - Sicilians.Parkwells (talk) 02:02, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Verifiability and Reliable Sources[edit]

The addition of the chart and this sentence "The main explanation for the presence of the stereotype in the United States is the hugely disproportionate number of black people in the criminal justice system" are being reverted because they are very strong claims with only 1 source. Besides there being many sources that dispute this, simple logic tells us that this wouldn't be the root explanation for such a stereotype. This sentence is putting the effect as the cause. Please check additional sources before re-adding this material. -- Avanu (talk) 15:22, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

Article fails to address some unfortunate realities[edit]

This article fails adequately to address some unfortunate realities.

I and other family members have been the victims of violent crime on a number of occasions--both on the street and in our homes. On each and every one of these occasions, the perpetrators of the violent crimes (armed robbery, felonious assualt, criminal trespass, assault with a deadly weapon, rape) have been black males. When I look at the statistics for violent crime in ANY large American city, black males outnumber any other group as perpetrators of violent crime; this disparity becomes even more striking when one looks at the percentage of violent crimes committed as compared to the percentage of black males in the populations of those cities.

The "criminal black man stereotype" exists, not for historical reasons, and not because of racial prejudice, but because black males commit a disproportionaate number of violent crimes--in other words the stereotype is NOT wrong. In the private sphere, I am committed to judging all individuals based on what I can learn of their characters; in the public sphere (on the street, for example) I do not have the time or ability to discern character, therefore I cannot afford to give unknown black males the benefit of the doubt. If black males wish not to be stereotyped as violent criminals, they must not commit violent crimes themselves; they must abandon the personal power afforded them by mimicking the dress, demeanor and speech of black criminals; and they must speak out against, and otherwise ostracize, black men who exhibit violent criminal behavior.

It is not up to those of us who have been victimized by violent black criminals to abandon our well-founded "criminal black man stereotype" AHEAD of actual changes in behavior among black men. Often this is a matter of preserving life, limb and integrity, especially in the public sphere. I acknowledge that the stereotype is a tragedy for black men who are not violent criminals, which is thoroughly regrettable. Perhaps non-criminal black men should emulate asian men, whose stereotype is one of studious reflection and harmlessness--a stereotype that can be just as misleading when it comes to individual behavior. Apostle12 (talk) 00:58, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Now that you vented your personal griefs, can you please find good sources to your ends and update the article accordingly, for your advice to actually be read by many and just a little bit possibly followed. Staszek Lem (talk) 01:50, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
I will try. However, as you must be aware, anyone who writes openly about such things is immediately branded a racist, no matter how fair-minded his or her thinking. This extends even to blacks, who are accused of having internalized white-on-black racism and who become known as "race-traitors." Very few people of any race are willing to pay the price for engaging in thoughtful analysis, so reliable sources are scarce. Apostle12 ([[User

talk:Apostle12|talk]]) 05:45, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Hear hear. To even attempt to address this elephant in the room leaves you wide open to attack by people with no experience of the situation's reality. Even if Apostle12 provided three solid references for every word in this passage, it would never be acknowledged on wikipedia.

Merge from Black brute[edit]

The articles are essentially about one and the same stereotype, one title being "poetic", the other one being formal. The contents both overlap and complementary, with BB being more focussed on history, while CBMS is more about modern times. Article merge will help to grasp the history of the concept. Staszek Lem (talk) 20:06, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

  • Weak oppose & suggest close - It looks to me like this would give undue weight to the relatively large amount of material there. Summary Style looks to me like a better approach here. It's been 5+ months, and mine is the only response to the suggestion. I suggest that the discussion be closed and the merge tags be removed. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 03:03, 4 January 2014 (UTC)


The article content is focused on the U.S., though the U.K. is mentioned. It seems to me that this topic might have wider application, so I've put a {{globalize}} hatnote in the article. I've done a bit of googling and found [2] and [3] [4] (a weak start, but I didn't spend much time on this). Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 03:34, 4 January 2014 (UTC)