It has long been known within criminology circles that certain cultural environments help create criminal behavior, ranging from the penthouse suite level of corporate culture to the street level of urban culture.
The term is described by Gwendolyn Cuizon (2000):
Criminogenic is the term coined by criminologists to describe the phenomenon of rising tide of criminalism. Criminogenic is a condition where the inner city has become a place where the social forces contribute to the formation of predatory criminals that are stronger and number more than the social factors that form upright citizens.
Retrieved February 15, 2015 from https://suite.io/gwendolyn-cuizon/1f422z9
In reference to white collar crime, it is noted by Robert Apel & Raymond Paternoster (2009) that:
A prominent theory of white-collar crime holds that organizations have distinctive cultures which are more or less tolerant of law violation for the benefit of the firm.
Retrieved February 15, 2015 from
What is common in both is a culture that enhances crime, and this recent article by Jason L. Riley, Editorial Board Member of the Wall Street Journal, published in Imprimis, the magazine of Hillsdale College, goes into some detail about that in reference to urban crime within the black community.
Thomas Sowell once said that some books you write for pleasure, and others you write out of a sense of duty, because there are things to be said—and other people have better sense than to say them. My new book, Please Stop Helping Us, falls into that latter category. When I started out as a journalist 20 years ago, I had no expectation of focusing on race-related topics. People like Sowell and Shelby Steele and Walter Williams and a few other independent black thinkers, to my mind at least, had already said what needed to be said, had been saying it for decades, and had been saying it more eloquently than I ever could. But over the years, and with some prodding from those guys, it occurred to me that not enough younger blacks were following in their footsteps. It also occurred to me that many public policies aimed at the black underclass were just as wrongheaded as ever. The fight wasn’t over. A new generation of black thinkers needed to explain what’s working and what isn’t, and why, to a new generation of readers. And the result is this book, which I hope will help to bring more light than heat to the discussion of race.
The book is not an autobiography or a memoir, but I do tell a few stories about growing up black and male in the inner city. And one of the stories involves a trip back home to Buffalo, New York, where I was born and raised. I was visiting my older sister shortly after I had begun working at the Wall Street Journal, and I was chatting with her daughter, my niece, who was maybe in the second grade at the time. I was asking her about school, her favorite subjects, that sort of thing, when she stopped me and said, “Uncle Jason, why you talk white?” Then she turned to her little friend who was there and said, “Don’t my uncle sound white? Why he tryin’ to sound so smart?”
She was just teasing, of course. I smiled and they enjoyed a little chuckle at my expense. But what she said stayed with me. I couldn’t help thinking: Here were two young black girls, seven or eight years old, already linking speech patterns to race and intelligence. They already had a rather sophisticated awareness that, as blacks, white-sounding speech was not only to be avoided in their own speech but mocked in the speech of others.
I shouldn’t have been too surprised by this, and I wasn’t. My siblings, along with countless other black friends and relatives, teased me the same way when I was growing up. And other black professionals have told similar stories. What I had forgotten is just how early these attitudes take hold—how soon this counterproductive thinking and behavior begins.
New York City has the largest school system in America. Eighty percent of black kids in New York public schools are performing below grade level. And a big part of the problem is a black subculture that rejects attitudes and behaviors that are conducive to academic success. Black kids read half as many books and watch twice as much television as their white counterparts, for example. In other words, a big part of the problem is a culture that produces little black girls and boys who are already worried about acting and sounding white by the time they are in second grade.
Another big part of the problem is a reluctance to speak honestly about these cultural shortcomings. Many whites fear being called racists. And many black leaders have a vested interest in blaming black problems primarily on white racism, so that is the narrative they push regardless of the reality. Racism has become an all-purpose explanation for bad black outcomes, be they social or economic. If you disagree and are white, you’re a bigot. If you disagree and are black, you’re a sell-out.
The shooting death of a young black man by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, last year touched off a national discussion about everything except the aberrant behavior of so many young black men that results in such frequent encounters with police. We talked about racial prejudice, poverty, unemployment, profiling, the tensions between law enforcement and poor black communities, and so forth. Rarely did we hear any discussion of black crime rates.
Homicide is the leading cause of death for young black men in the U.S., and around 90 percent of the perpetrators are also black. Yet for months we’ve had protesters nationwide pretending that our morgues are full of young black men because cops are shooting them. Around 98 percent of black shooting deaths do not involve police. In fact, a cop is six times more likely to be shot by someone black than the opposite. The protestors are pushing a false anti-cop narrative, and everyone from the president on down has played along.
Any candid debate on race and criminal justice in this country would have to start with the fact that blacks commit an astoundingly disproportionate number of crimes. Blacks constitute about 13 percent of the population, yet between 1976 and 2005 they committed more than half of all murders in the U.S. The black arrest rate for most offenses—including robbery, aggravated assault, and property crimes—is typically two to three times their representation in the population. So long as blacks are committing such an outsized amount of crime, young black men will be viewed suspiciously and tensions between police and crime-ridden communities will persist. The U.S. criminal justice system, currently headed by a black attorney general who reports to a black president, is a reflection of this reality, not its cause. If we want to change negative perceptions of young black men, we must change the behavior that is driving those perceptions. But pointing this out has become almost taboo. How can we even begin to address problems if we won’t discuss them honestly?
“Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.”
Retrieved February 15, 2015 from http://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/current