The Unknown Gravity Of Stereotyping

The following links provide news coverage about an assault that took place at Trinity College, which is about 15 minutes from the town I live in CT.

The victim was a Sophomore at Trinity College and the incident occurred in the early hours of the morning on Sunday March 4, 2012. Trinity College is located in Hartford, Connecticut, an area that does not hold a very good reputation for being safe. The second link is the first article I read about the incident a day after it had happened. It does not provide a description of the suspects’ or provide much information about them in general. The feeling I got from reading the article (the second link) was that Trinity’s Campus Safety needs to do a better job of protecting their students from crime that may occur on campus and incidents occurring with people who aren’t members of the Trinity Community (people who may live around the campus and have easy access onto the campus).

As I continued reading other papers and looking for more information about the assault, it seemed as though a great deal of the information I was receiving was making the assumption that the suspects of the incident were not Trinity students and were members of the community surrounding the college. Shortly after the initial reports of the incident came out, more reports started coming out that the suspects may in actuality be Trinity Students. Many different blogs and articles seemed to be in complete denial that it could have occurred from a member of the Trinity Community. I couldn’t help but notice how these reactions that the deny the possibility of it being from a Trinity student highlight attitudes that represent the stereotypes associated with members of Hartford’s community. Hartford, CT is a city that has a very diverse population and has been known to have high rates of crime and gang violence. Trinity is a college consisting of predominantly White students, many of which are extremely wealthy and is situated right in the middle of Hartford, CT.

Why is it that before any actual evidence of the suspects was discovered, members of the Trinity community, and members of other towns near by automatically assume that the one who assaulted the Trinity Student was from Hartford? As it turns out, the police came to discover that the suspects in the case were all white.

This link contains a news release with their description:

Even after the facts came out about the suspect’s description, it seemed to me that people still didn’t think it was true. I think society has become organized in such a way that individuals automatically assume violent crimes to be the fault of a minority, or in this case an individual(s) who belongs to a community that has a huge minority population. Often times, these assumptions are completely off base, an idea represented by this story. How have these inaccurate assumptions become so normal and frequent in our society today? It seems to me that individuals who make these statements don’t have any idea the gravity of their presumptions. They don’t even care if they are wrong because they are in constant denial that someone of their rate, the dominant race in society (White) could be responsible for actions as violent and horrific as the case of the Trinity assault.