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University Of Alaska System Of Higher Education

910 Yukon Dr
Fairbanks, AK 99775-5000

General Phone: 907-474-7311
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Born black, born criminal - Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Students in my sociology class interpreted Bennett's remarks as the unwarranted alignment of race with concepts of immorality and criminality. In this course, we have been studying the historical development of different criminological theories. An Italian physician and early criminologist, Cesare Lombroso, theorized that criminals are biologically inferior to the law-abiding. Since 1876, when Lombroso advanced his theory of "criminal man," attempts to demonstrate this invalid model have exempted the social fabric from blame and lent credence to erroneous ideas about the innate propensity of criminals who are beyond reform. Lombroso's legacy is his attempt to establish a system whereby a predisposition to engage in antisocial behavior could be predicted on the basis of physical characteristics marking a person's appearance--such as "bulbous fingertips" or "malformed ears." Based on their perceived stigmata, the dangerous could be separated out and sequestered from others, perhaps ultimately eliminated. For Lombroso, the dangerous meant his "born criminal man." For Bennett, it appears, the dangerous are little babies with dark skin tones.