The Color of Crime: Racial Hoaxes, White Fear, Black Protectionism, Police Harassment, and Other Macroaggressions

Front Cover
NYU Press, 1998 - Social Science - 203 pages
2 Reviews

When Americans are asked what concerns them most about the direction of the country, crime and racial tensions invariably figure prominently in the answer. In the minds of many, these two problems are inextricably linked. Yet opinions and beliefs about race and crime are often informed as much by myth and preconception as by fact and reality.

In this important book, Katheryn K. Russell surveys the landscape of American crime and identifies some of the country's most significant racial pathologies. Why do Black and White Americans perceive police actions so differently? Is White fear of Black crime justified? Do African Americans really "protect their own"? Should they?

Perhaps the most explosive and troublesome phenomenon at the nexus of race and crime is the racial hoax--a contemporary version of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Examining both White-on-Black hoaxes such as Susan Smith's and Charles Stuart's claims that Black men were responsible for crimes they themselves committed, and Black-on-White hoaxes such as the Tawana Brawley episode, Russell illustrates the formidable and lasting damage that occurs when racial stereotypes are manipulated and exploited for personal advantage. She shows us how such hoaxes have disastrous consequences and compellingly argues for harsher punishments for offenders.

Stressing that journalists, scholars, and policymakers alike have an ethical imperative to disregard and refute inflammatory or wrong-headed work on race, The Color of Crime is a lucid and forceful book, impossible to ignore.


What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

203 pages of plain, unadulterated bullshit.


External and Internal Images
The Historical Record
3 Racial Discrimination or Disproportionate Offending?
4 Are We Still Talking about O J?
5 The Racial Hoax as Crime
6 Science Scientific Racism and the Ethical Imperative
7 In Search of White Crime
8 Affirmative Race Law
Appendix A PolicePublic Contact Survey
Case Summaries 19871996
Selected Bibliography
About the Author

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1998)

Katheryn Russell-Brown is Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law. She is the author of Protecting Our Own: Race, Crime, and African Americans and Underground Codes: Race, Crime, and Related Fires (NYU Press).

Bibliographic information