Book Title: The Condemnation Of Blackness Race, Crime, and the making of the Modern Urban America
Author: Khalil Gibran Muhammad
Genre: Race, History, Non-fiction
“New statistical and racial identities forged out of raw census data showed that African Americans, as 12 percent of the population, made up 30 percent of the nation’s prison population. Although specially designed race-conscious laws, discriminatory punishments, and new forms of everyday racial surveillance had been institutionalized by the 1890s as a way to suppress black freedom, white social scientists presented the new crime data as objective, color-blind, and incontrovertible.”
Main Points Of The Book:
1- For white Americans of every ideological stripe—from radical southern racists to northern progressives—African American criminality became one of the most widely accepted bases for justifying prejudicial thinking, discriminatory treatment, and/or acceptance of racial violence as an instrument of public safety
2- African Americans were unfairly stigmatized by their criminality.
3- The white crime statistics are virtually invisible, except when used to dramatize the excessive criminality of African Americans
4- Violent crime rates in the nation’s biggest cities are generally understood as a reflection of the presence and behavior of the black men, women, and children who live there.
5- The statistical evidence of black criminality remained rooted in the concept of black inferiority or black pathology despite a shift in the social scientific discourse on the origins of race and crime.
Introduction: This book is written by Khalil Gibran Muhammad who is an American academic. This book is one of the most authentic sources of statistics of Black criminality and victimization in modern urban America. This book has 6 chapters. Each chapter defines the clear statistics and reports from various researchers about Black criminality and causes of crime. After the great African migration, it was assumed that the Black people were the major cause of crime and posed a threat to modern Urban America. This book defines how black people were considered as a dangerous race of criminals by explicit contrast to working-class whites and European immigrants. This book has many answers to some of the many difficult situations related to black criminality including
1- “How was the statistical link between blackness and criminality initially forged?”
2- “Why Black mortality is always high?”
3- “By what means did black and white social scientists, social reformers, journalists, antiracist activists, law enforcement officials, and politicians construct, contest, and corroborate their claims regarding black criminality?”
This book altogether tells the story of blacks and whites and the data in south and north America regarding criminality.
Summary: This book tells many reports and data related to the causes of Black criminality and racism. The writer explains through many government reports, newspaper accounts, and works in the fields of sociology and criminology to prove that “the numbers do not speak for themselves”. The whites have always been backed up by the state when any discrimination of crime had occurred. Whereas the blacks were provided with no assistance by the state including probation, prison facilities, and rehabilitation. Despite the low number of Black criminals in America as compared to the whites, blacks were always considered to be the main cause of criminality in the state. The researchers and reporters explained the black crime as a cause of physical inferiority i.e. their skin color. Whereas they explained the white crime as a product of class and social surroundings.
Racial discrimination was on peak and blacks were considered the prime suspects if any crime occurs. The blacks were considered to be inferior and were thought that they contained some criminal gene within their bodies that’s why they committed more crimes. The blacks were forcibly victimized through physiological differences and were deemed to be mentally, ethically, morally, and intellectually inferior to whites. The Blacks had lesser job opportunities than the whites. Due to the false allegations, the crime was considered as the negro problem and the cause of crime was thought to be because of the presence of Black men, women, and children. The racism and criminal injustices heavily negatively impacted Black people’s lives.
A Lot of progressive programs were denied to the Blacks which they deserved as a part of the country. The causes of black mortality by the researchers were defined as the cause of their lack of physical fitness. The researchers completely turned the blind eye to the injustices caused to the Blacks in the prisons. Apart from prisons and jails the book also defines the injustices done by the police officers to the Blacks.
Conclusion: This book is well-researched and perfect for everybody who wants to know about the origins of Black criminality and Black migration. This book will give you knowledge about the history of the connections between race and crime.