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33 J. Crim. Just. Educ. 1 (2022)

handle is hein.journals/jcrimjed33 and id is 1 raw text is: JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE EDUCATION
2022, VOL. 33, NO. 1, 1-22                                        1Z  Rutledge
https:H/doi.org/1 0.1080/10511253.2021.1946113    .,Taylor &Francis Group
The R     imaging     of Criminal Justice Education:A
Preliminary Stud of Students' Classroom Experiences
and Perceptions of Racial Justice
Chien-Juh Gu ~;and Charles Crawford
Department of Sociology, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Ml, USA
ABSTRACT                                                      ARTICLE HISTORY
Race-related issues in criminal justice are often challenging topics  Received 7 March 2021
to discuss in the classroom because of their sensitivity and corn-  Accepted 16 June 2021
plexity. The growing political polarization in the American public
and its impact on college students has made the challenges more  KEYWORDS
daunting in higher education. Using an online survey of criminal  Criminal justice education;
jsiestudents, this study seeks to understand racial differences  classroom experience; racial
Justicejustice; inclusivity;
in students' classroom experiences and perceptions of racial just-  higher education
ice. Findings suggest that students of color are. significantly more
likely than their White peers to experience differential treatment
in the classroom, express professors' insensitivity to race-related
issues, and indicate stereotypes of people of color in required
readings. Non-White students are also more likely than White stu-
dents to point out Blacks' vulnerability in racial profiling and crim-
inal punishment. We discuss the implications of these findings
and provide suggestions for improving criminal justice education.
In criminal justice education, race-related issues are difficult subjects to discuss in the
classroom because of their sensitivity and complexity, especially matters concerning police
shootings, racial profiling, and mass incarcerations of African Americans. Law enforce-
ment's involvement in deporting undocumented immigrants constitutes another heated
topic when discussing the conflict between laws and humanity. Without instructors' cau-
tion and preparation, heated debates in class could potentially turn into emotionally
charged confrontations. Teaching these topics has become even more challenging in
recent years as a result of an increasingly divisive U.S. society since the 2016 presidential
election. College students, including CJ majors, may hold more differentiated opinions
about racial justice than in the past because of the influences of the larger societal con-
texts and their life experiences. Criminal justice educators must be aware of the current
trends in society and changing characteristics among our students in order to adjust our
pedagogical approaches accordingly. Such awareness and mindful preparation can help
CONTACT Chien-Juh Gu  chien-juh.gu@wmich edu  Western Michigan University, 1903 W. Michigan Ave.,
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5257.
©O 2021 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences

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