Reader’s Share: The Glorification of White Crime

I recently came across a blog post that was shared by Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian’s Facebook Community Member Saman Waquad. Saman is always up to something social justice related, and this blog post she shared entitled “The Glorification of White Crime” really caused me to stop and think.

From Tumblr: The Glorification of White Crime

“pick a crime, any crime, and Western media has probably made a movie/TV series/play/etc. with a white person that romanticizes the criminal activity. No matter what, a white person can do whatever terrible crimes and still have a TV/movie fanbase that loves them.

When you see black or brown people committing crimes on screen, you are to see them thugs and criminal masterminds and people to be beat down.
When you see white people committing crimes on screen, you see a three-dimensional portrait of why someone might commit that crime, how criminals are people too, and how you should even love them for the crimes that they commit because they’re just providing for their families or they’ve wronged or they’re just people and not perfect. This is particularly a luxury given to white male characters, since there few white female criminals as protagonists.”……Read the Full Article

The Tumblr page, which is called “This is White Culture” seeks to  “show a common thread of white history as it relates to the oppression of PoC.” (People of Color)

I haven’t looked over the blog in its entirety, but he subject matter of this post definitely raises some important prompts for discussion about the racialization of crime and how it manifests itself in society.

Did you read the article? What are your thoughts?

Grace & Peace,

From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW



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Written by

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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8 Responses

  1. Anum says:

    This is exactly how crimes are interpreted in real life, too. Think of the Fort Hood shooting vs. the Aurora shooting. Nidal Hasan was automatically labeled a terrorist, perhaps influenced by his background as a Palestinian Muslim (although the government later determined that he could not be associated with any broader radical terrorist group). James Holmes, however, was given the benefit of the doubt, and newspaper articles repeatedly mentioned him as an “intelligent” neuroscience student who had finally snapped from all the pressure. Basically, if you are a Muslim person in America convicted of a shooting, people will always rush to the conclusion that you are associated with all those scary radical groups out there in the Middle East. No one gives you the benefit of the doubt (“did he snap from all that pressure?!”). You are always “the foreigner” who is out to get American people. It;s such a terrible and apparent form of prejudice. /rantoftheday lol

    • You’re right Anum! The differences in how crime is interpreted through the lens of race in the media does have real life implications!

      Those messages are powerful.

      I remember both of those cases and at times thinking that greater efforts were made to humanize the person who was the shooter in the Aurora shooting, than were made for the person in the Ford shooting.

      Do the differences in racial depictions and interpretations of crime on-screen have an impact on how crime is responded to in real life? I’d say yes.

      At the very least I hope that this post raises some important questions for people about how we judge criminality by race, but I also hope it leads to conversations and actions that focus on changing the way we think and behave as individuals and as a broader society.

      Thank you Anum for your readership and continued support of (N.A.H.)

      • Anum says:

        Not to condone any act of violence, but the disparity between how we treat those convicted of crime based on their race is nevertheless disturbing to me. All acts of violence are heinous, and while I understand our need to rationalize criminal behaviour, it should be something that needs to be applied to all criminals, and not only to those who come from privileged/racial majority backgrounds. White people have an advantage because they are “humanized” as individuals. They are visible, affluent and get positive coverage in mainstream media. Even when they are portrayed as criminals, as you pointed out in this post (something that I must admit, I did not think too consciously of before!). Even when I was growing up in the Middle East (my ethnic background is Pakistani), where there was no white majority, I was exposed to white culture simply because I watched TV. We all admired the chiseled abs of Brad Pitt, and the funny British comedies of the 70s. Such is the nature of globalization. When you think of the U.S., and most Western countries, there is very little positive representation of ethnic minorities. Unless you interact with these minorities directly, you are left with a very bad taste in your mouth about them (especially if your main source of information is something like Fox News lol). So they are not humanized to that degree. When people think of Pakistan for example, all they can think of is terrorism, because that is the only way Pakistani’s are portrayed (outside of Pakistan). It’s refreshing to see that some things are changing, but we really do have a long way to go. Have you seen “Planet of the Arabs”?

        And as always, it’s great to visit your blog, Relando!

        • Wow Anum! I have a couple of responses here. First I’d like to thank you for sharing in such a personal way in your comment. I had no idea about your background growing up, so I really appreciate the fact that you felt comfortable to share your experiences with others here.

          Secondly, you mentioned “White people have an advantage because they are “humanized” as individuals. They are visible, affluent and get positive coverage in mainstream media. Even when they are portrayed as criminals, as you pointed out in this post (something that I must admit, I did not think too consciously of before!).”

          I’m also very glad that you were able to discover something that you hadn’t thought about alot before, so that now you can begin exploring it further! Helping others to do this is one of the true purposes of Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian, and I myself am always looking for new information to unlearn misinformation that can be harmful to myself and others.

          Lastly I thank you for sharing the “Planet of the Arabs” video at the end of your comment. I had never seen it before!

          Combining your well shared comments with the imagery within that video makes it clearer to see the dehumanization of people from the Middle East. It’s widespread propaganda like that which makes it easy to prejudge and falsely categorize people of color.

          You can correct me if I’m wrong but I got the impression that the filmmaker organized the compilation of images in to illustrate that point.

          What makes it even more dangerous is that these negative messages are seamlessly weaved into popular movies, just as they are in TV shows and other forms of media today.

          There’s power in sharing your story Anum, I’m always glad when you stop by.

  2. rootedinbeing says:

    Super interesting! Thanks for sharing this, Relando.

  1. October 25, 2012

    […] Originally posted at […]

  2. November 6, 2012

    […] The Glorification of White Crime […]

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