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Crimcast is a virtual resource devoted to critical conversations about criminology and criminal justice issues. Our blogposts, twitter feeds, podcasts and other content provide an overview of trends, research, commentary and events of interest to criminal justice practitioners, academics and the general public. CrimCast is sponsored by The Center for Crime and Popular Culture, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

News of the Week: Marriage Equality, Gun Control, and Rape Culture

Nickie Phillips

This is our latest installment of Dr. Demetra M. Pappas' "News of the Week" in which she uses short topics as a teaching tool to stimulate conversation in her sociology, anthropology, criminology and legal studies course.  

  1. FAMILIES/GENDER AND SEXUALITY/LAW AND THE LEGAL SYSTEM/SOCIAL INEQUALITY/MARRIAGE EQUALITY OR DEVIANCE AND CONFORMITY:  On Tuesday, March 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court is hearing a challenge to California’s Proposition 8, banning same sex marriage and on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, the Court is hearing a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), according to which marriage is solely between a man and a woman. What have you read/heard/researched about the cases and arguments, and which side of the debate are you on (and why)?
  2. GUNS/LAW AND THE LEGAL SYSTEM/HOMELAND SECURITY MATTERSMEDIA:  On NY1 today, Mayor Bloomberg went on television to deride the NRA making commercials referencing the Newtown school shooting tragedy. Check out the Fox News piece, “NRA chief says Bloomberg can’t buy America amid $12 million gun control ad blitz.”  Note, New York was the first state to pass anti-gun legislation post-Sandy Hook and there is pending civil litigation on this.  According to the piece, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre on Sunday challenged New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to spend $12 million on ads meant to pressure senators into backing strict new gun control measures, saying Bloomberg "can't buy America." Bloomberg's pro-gun control group Mayors Against Illegal Guns is launching the campaign in states where senators may be on the fence regarding a package of firearms proposals making its way to the Senate floor.”
  3. CRIME AND PUNISHMENT/LAW AND THE LEGAL SYSTEM/GENDER AND “RAPE CULTURE”/SPORTS AND THE LAW/JUVENILE DELINQUENCY OR ADULT CRIMINAL CONDUCT:  In a very different case than last week’s GREEN TEAM News on the Greek soccer player being banned for using the Nazi salute, tow young men (Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond), who were football players in Steubenville, Ohio, were convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl and sentenced to serve (short) time pursuant to the state juvenile justice system.  Mays is going in for “at least two years” and Richmond “for at least one.”  Kimberly Tan (who is also a 16-year-old student, from San Jose, California), wrote a blog piece for The Huffington Post, entitled, “Misogyny, Objectification and the Steubenville Rape Case,” expressing outrage that the press has been focusing upon “how the convicted rapists – with ‘such promising futures … literally watched as they believed their life fell apart.”.”)  Tan argues that “the media outpouring of sympathy toward the defendants perpetuate what has been aptly termed a ‘rape culture,’ where rape and violence are accepted and even condoned by society.” What do you think of this argument?

For more information on Dr. Pappas' pedagogical approach, see her article, "Creating an Antidote to Student Apathy: The News of the Week," in Teacher Scholar:  The Journal of the State Comprehensive University, Volume 3, Number 1 pp. 45-51.