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CJ 242 Race, Law, and Justice • 5 Cr.


Examines the strengths and weaknesses of the police carrying out their mission in a culturally diverse society. Students develop an understanding of the influences of culture, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic class on the legal process and within society.


After completing this class, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of key terms (e.g., multiculturalism, racism, institutional racism, prejudice, racial groups) by correctly identifying them in readings and using them accurately in essays and discussions.
  • Demonstrate comprehension of the need for multicultural law enforcement by explaining the roles that racism and prejudice played in police-community conflicts, the creation of laws, the enforcement of laws, the legal interpretation of laws, the sentencing of offenders and community response to the police.
  • Apply comprehension of multicultural law enforcement to traditional police departments. The student will be able to explain how a police department that embraces the multicultural policing concept would respond differently from a traditional department's response to a dispute between the police and a culturally diverse community, tensions within a culturally diverse community and traditional police problems that occur in any community.
  • Apply comprehension of multicultural law enforcement by identifying the policing philosophies, strategies and techniques used by police departments and explain whether the departments have not yet addressed the needs of a diverse community.
  • Analyze the history of tension between the police and racial and ethnic groups by applying a psychological and sociological perspective. Students should be able to identify and discuss arguments concerning whether individuals create a racist legal institution or the institution creates racists officers.
  • Synthesize the information gained from case analysis and selected readings and argue whether racism within the legal process existed only at an individual basis or whether the legal process as an institution is biased and supported by the majority of the American public.
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the legal rationale supporting landmark criminal court decisions and determine whether they fit with common standards of equality and justice. Evaluate police-community conflicts and attempt to determine whether the police lacked an understanding of the dynamics of a socially diverse community or whether there was a predisposed suspicion of the police due to a long and bitter history.
  • Evaluate the new policing strategies employed by the contemporary police departments and argue whether these new approaches address the arguments and concerns raised by those minority groups that are affected.



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Bellevue College
3000 Landerholm Circle SE Bellevue, WA 98007-6484 U.S.A.
Work: (425) 564-1000