Criminal Justice Paper

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William Gill
Criminal Law

This paper is regarding the issue of race in the media, as it relates to referencing various ethnic backgrounds throughout coverage of criminal stories. I am currently a student, studying Criminal Justice, which calls for many outside of the classroom encounters with the law, regarding research, reading, and simply keeping up with current events. The Washington Post, to me is my main source of information regarding local crime trends. Throughout my research, I have noticed a potential issue regarding the referencing of races, that could lead to future animosity (if there isn’t any already), and that could add to future misconceptions of specific race categories, that more than likely would be generalized to entire populations. There has been recently been a huge realization that many Americans associate specific races with specific crimes. Looking back to date, two major events have shocked many Americans, based on the actual race of apprehended suspects. The D.C. sniper incident and the Virginia Tech shootings are both incidents that really brought to light the issue of race and crime. In the case of the sniper, many assumed that from past situations mixed with stereotypes, that the snipers were white. In the case of the Virginia Tech shootings, no specific race was mentioned in the questioning of who committed such a heinous act, probably from the lesson learned in the sniper situation. Once the police verified who committed the acts, once again, there was shock, brought around the race of the sniper. No one suspected the killer to be Asian in the case of the Virginia Tech shootings.

Ironically enough, in reading various articles throughout the semester, I have found a change in the disclosure of race, and the referencing of race in crime articles. There was not one article that specified the race of a suspect. In making that discovery, I also noticed that there was more of an emphasis put on the location of where a...
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