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Black Americans and Crime

The examples given do not essentially eliminate any argument from the black underclass that they do not have every opportunity to be successful and having legitimately acquired the goods and riches of the American society. Although Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Barack Obama are examples of black, they cannot be entirely be used as examples to justify why black underclass should be contented with the acquisition of wealth in the American society.

Although Colin Powell was the first black American to hold a senior most position in the US government- Secretary of State, it would be much unjustified for black underclass to remain passive on the ground that one of their own held such a prestigious position. He has worked for and with US presidents like Reagan, John Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and George Bush. After the re-election of George Bush in 2004, Powell resigned, and was later to rally support behind the then Democratic presidential aspirant Barack Obama - he had not been convinced for the need of Americans to attack Iraq, although his integrity as a black American was negligible in a government still dominated by the white (Sutherland & Edwin, 1924).

Despite Condoleezza Rice and Barack Obama joining the legacy of Colin Powell as black Americans to have ever held key positions in the US government, there is still a genuine outcry for more representation of blacks in the highest organs of decision making in the US.

Any person can become either a criminal or not depending on the nature of the environment he/she lives in (Park, 1925). The density and the presence or absence of ‘greenness’ of one’s environment contributes to the profile of any person to be regarded either as a criminal or a law-abiding citizen. Some scholars have put forward their arguments in supports of this stand. They are among others Robert Park, Ernest W Burgess and Edwin Sutherland.

The level and nature of crime in urban areas and in rural areas is totally different. The more the absence of trees, green grass, peaceful environment, the higher level of crime. This change of one’s environment can occur as a result of migration particularly from the urban areas to the rural areas.

According to Edwin Sutherland in his book Principles of criminology, the movement of a person from a rural area (a familiar environment) to urban areas (less familiar environment) may prompt one to indulge in criminal activities – in a less familiar or a rather complete unfamiliar environment, one feels as not being responsible to lead a rigid lifestyle – a life that is endorsed by the familiar environment. He calls this social disorganization.

The effect of such social disorganization put forward by Sutherland, will lead to the cities and other urban like areas experiencing the adverse effect of crime which is nonetheless inevitable. This is what Robert Park and Ernest W. Burgess refer to as ‘concentric zones’ in a city. In their book, the city suggestion of investigations of human behavior in the urban environment, Park and Ernest argue that crime is high in densely populated areas. These populated areas are the cities. Park and Ernest seem to be motivated by  common knowledge that when too many people occupy a place with minimal resources, chances by a sections of the inhabitants to want to be the sole beneficiaries  of the scarce resources is likely to occur. But must they indulge in lethal methods like crime? And when the government is undertaking housing projects that can propel criminality attitudes to her citizens, should this not be stopped?

This housing project will inevitably lead to the creation of a city- like environment. Population will be dense. Available resources will be depleted. The inhabitants will be disenfranchised. What will such a populace not attempt to guarantee survival crime being the priority? Therefore, I do not justify the government’s housing project.

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