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International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy

Confronting the North’s South: On Race and Violence in the United States

Abstract

More than any other ‘Northern’ country, the United States is distinctive in the degree to which its social, economic, and cultural development has been entwined with the global South from the beginning: and we cannot adequately understand the state of crime and punishment in the US without taking that uniquely ‘Southern’ history into account. In this paper, I sketch some of the dimensions of one crucial reflection of that Southern legacy: the extraordinary racial disparities in the experience of violent death between African-Americans and Whites. These disparities contribute substantially to radically different patterns of life and death between the races, and constitute a genuine social and public health emergency. But their structural roots remain largely unaddressed; and in some respects, the prospects for seriously confronting these fundamental inequalities may be receding.

Published:
Pages:23 to 34
Section: Articles

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Author Biography

University of California - Irvine
United States United States
Professor Currie is Professor of Criminology, Law, and Society at the University of California, Irvine. He has also taught in the Legal Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley, and in the Board of Studies in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Professor Currie is the author of many works on crime, juvenile delinquency, drug abuse and social policy, including Confronting Crime (1985), Dope and Trouble: Portraits of Delinquent Youth (1991), Reckoning: Drugs, the Cities, and the American Future (1993), and Crime and Punishment in America (1998), which was a finalist for the 1999 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction. He is a coauthor of Whitewashing Race: the Myth of a Colorblind America (2003), a finalist for the C. Wright Mills award of the Society for the Study of Social Problems in 2004 and winner of the 2004 Book Award from the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change. His book The Road to Whatever: Middle Class Culture and the Crisis of Adolescence, a study of troubled middle-class youth in America, appeared in 2005. His newest book, The Roots of Danger: Violent Crime in Global Perspective, was published by Prentice-Hall in 2008.
He has been a consultant to many organizations concerned with crime prevention, social policy, and the enhancement of juvenile and criminal justice, both in the United States and overseas, including the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity, the California Governor's Task Force on Civil Rights, and the Home Office of Great Britain.
Open Access Journal
ISSN 2202-8005