Lust, blue collar crime, and A DEATH IN BELMONT.

I've been reading a lot of true crime books lately as well as finishing up a series of paintings I call "The Seven Deadly Sins."  Currently, I'm reading Sebastian Junger's A death in Belmont, and my painting of "Lust" in the series seems especially apropos. You see, the book is about the sex-crazed Boston Strangler who terrorized parts of Boston during the 1960's. Blue collar crime...and lust. Here's a summary of the book: A fatal collision of three lives in the most intriguing and original … [Read more...]

Understanding White Privilege – its sociological origins.

  In an effort at understanding white privilege from an historical perspective, I wrote a post back in January. In this post, I'm into understanding white privilege from a sociological perspective. For a variety of reasons, one engaging perspective of this sort by sociologist Alan G. Johnson starts off with the notion that the British were instrumental in the development of the idea of racial superiority. According to Johnson's perspective,  the British were not the first to believe that … [Read more...]

Am I privileged? Try these exercises.

I'm writing a book about how the American criminal justice system treats "privileged" murderers  different from others.  The murderers' privileges in my book (working title "Four Murders & a Funeral") start  with being white males and in some cases end with being privileged in yet other ways.) Because of my book topic, people often ask me what I mean by "privilege." Well, here's a definition from a white male who's also gay, and you wouldn't be alone thinking 'maybe he's not privileged if … [Read more...]

To “Check your privilege,” watch Dominick Dunne on the Justice Network.

As I write my current book, I'm outraged at the light sentences given to several of the privileged murderers I've gotten to know over the years. (I'm a criminologist and embrace the "check your privilege" movement.) For these reasons I've developed an affinity for Dominick Dunne. He's the late American writer, investigative journalist, and producer who covered the trial of his  daughter's murderer. Like me, Dunne was incensed at the verdict (acquittal of  2nd-degree murder charge in favor of … [Read more...]

Explaining White Privilege – visiting its historic origins.

Whether you agree with the concept of white privilege or not, it's worth explaining white privilege. Or trying to. To do this, I'll start by taking a look at the origins of the concept. By the way, I agree with the concept as a tool to understand unconscious biases in whites. But I disagree with using it to beat up on whites and lay guilt trips on them. Much of the guilt lays with people who set up social systems centuries ago in the US and even earlier in the case of slavery. Explaining white … [Read more...]

White economic privilege impacts crim justice system.

  White privilege statistics. I've been writing a memoir of late about how four murders seriously changed my career as a criminologist. So, how do white privilege statistics come into play? Well, among the many reasons the murders changed my worldview was the fact that the crim justice system treated the killers well. They were  all white and given remarkably light sentences  in comparison to black killers who committed similar crimes. This was back in the late 1960s and 1970s, … [Read more...]

Ending white privilege in the criminal justice system?

  In the process of writing my follow-up memoir to Cleft Heart, I've rediscovered the impact white privilege has on the crim justice system. Such privilege has become painfully clear in the four murders that struck amazingly close to home for me in my 30's. Some of the whites involved in these murders were supersmart, too, and got added privileges like superatheletes often do. And all  were male, too. So,let me start this blog with a parallel between male and white privilege. How male … [Read more...]