Race and Justice

Sage Publications, Inc.
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Latest documents

  • Righteous Shoot or Racial Injustice? What Crowdsourced Data Can(not) Tell Us About Police-Caused Homicide

    Social scientists have developed various theoretical perspectives to explain the disproportionate incidence of police-caused homicide involving Black citizens in the United States. A common approach focuses on structural characteristics (e.g., percent Black) of cities. Such research relies primarily on Uniform Crime Reports’ Supplemental Homicide Reports, which poses two problems for researchers. Undercounting raises concerns about the reliability of findings, and the data are not amenable to testing influential alternative hypotheses. Recently, efforts to more accurately count police-caused homicides have been undertaken, with these new crowdsourced databases increasingly being used in research. When merged with structural-level data, they may allow the estimation of multilevel statistical models that include city-level and event-level predictors of police-caused homicide. These databases also pose methodological challenges, but they hold out the promise of providing a more reliable answer to a fundamental question that has yet to be adequately addressed. Is the racial disparity in police-caused homicide primarily attributable to the objective threats posed by Black citizens or the subjective biases of police officers? This article evaluates the degree to which the new crowdsourced databases can help resolve this conundrum.

  • Detective Effort Among Complainant and Suspect Racial and Ethnic Dyads: An Exploration

    The gap between citizen perceptions and the realities of police work is most pronounced among detective work: Little, for example, is known about how detectives use their investigative discretion. To overcome this issue within the context of race/ethnicity, detectives reported the amount of time they worked assigned cases. These data were paired with case file information containing the complainant and suspect’s racial and ethnic identity. Dyads of complainant and suspect racial/ethnic arrangements were explored to see whether there was a difference in the likelihood that a case would be worked and for how long it was worked. The results were mixed: There was no difference in the likelihood that a case would be worked or how long it was worked across differing complainant racial/ethnic identities. Cases with a minority suspect, however, were more likely to be worked and for longer periods of time. The implications for these findings are discussed.

  • Net-Widening in Schools?: The Collateral Consequences of Safe School Expenditures for Suspension Rates

    Concerns about school safety are increasingly commonplace, especially considering the attention garnered by mass shootings and other instances of crime in schools. In response, billions of dollars in federal and state funding have been allocated to assist and support the safeguarding of the school environment and those within the school. However, it remains unclear whether safe school expenditures are consequential for school-related outcomes—specifically, school suspension rates. To fill this void, the current study uses multilevel Poisson and negative binomial regression to analyze school and school district data from the Florida Department of Education, the U.S. Census, the Uniform Crime Report, and the Florida Division of Elections. Findings suggest that safe school expenditures are associated with lower suspension rates for all students. However, the effect of expenditures on Black suspension rates indicates a curvilinear relationship. Safe school expenditures are associated with an initial reduction in the Black suspension rate to a certain threshold; however, once that threshold is met, continual increases in expenditures increase the likelihood of Black suspensions. Although safe school expenditures are associated with lower suspension rates for all students, additional increases in spending on school safety widen the social control net for Black students, thereby amplifying their likelihood of punishment.

  • Have We Surrendered to Gun Violence in Urban America? Federal Neglect Stymies Efforts to Stop the Slaughter Among Young Black Men

    For the last three decades, young Black men in the United States have been killed in gun violence at rates more than double any other group, which threatens to wipe out an entire generation. The reasons for the carnage have not been adequately investigated due to a federal ban on gun research, fueled by the massive lobbying power of the National Rifle Association. With no leadership from the federal government and lawmakers’ refusal to pass tougher gun policies, a patchwork of violence prevention efforts has emerged at the local level. The programs that appear to have had the greatest success in reducing homicides approach gun violence as a public health issue and address problems such as unemployment, substance abuse, and childhood trauma in young men. However, those programs are underfunded, and the national gun homicide toll has begun to climb again after a decade of relative stability. The public’s attention—and thus policy makers’ focus—seems to have shifted from urban homicides to mass shootings. In this essay, I argue that, because the gun homicide crisis disproportionately impacts young Black men, it will not get the attention nor federal funding it deserves until the Black community rises up to demand it.

  • A Commentary: The Position of Ethnic Minorities From the Connection Between Theory of Justice and Good Governance

    Ethnic minorities are sometimes presented as “outsiders,” “awkward,” “alien,” and many other pejoratives by the “leviathan of majority”. This article will theoretically analyze how ethnic minorities struggle to pursue justice and access their right to good governance. Rawls’s theory of justice simply seems as the support of “majorities” sense of justice, which disregards the sense of justice by minority. Because of the color of their skin, language, cultural identities, and national origin, ethnic minorities are trapped under the battle of power holders that can be explained by the notion of biopolitics. Biopolitics is a method of investigating the interconnection between human body and power relation. Furthermore, the position of ethnic minorities in these power battles is appeared such homo sacer. Homo sacer is one who has been condemned and may be killed by anybody in a figure of Roman law. The concept of homo sacer can be used to explain the position of ethnic minorities who have always been victimized. In addition, to establish a concrete example of a case about problems faced by ethnic minorities, I will discuss the protection of ethnic minorities through the framework of law and democracy in Indonesia and the Netherlands.

  • Predicting Immigrants’ Fear of Crime Based on Ethnicity, Acculturation, and Coping

    This research focuses on fear of crime and acculturation strategies in two immigrant groups in Israel: Ethiopians and those from the former Soviet Union (FSU). Relative contributions of various individual and social factors that predict fear of crime were examined. Five hundred and fourteen immigrants were interviewed, half from each group. All participants completed questionnaires on their fear of crime levels, perceived neighborhood disorder, social integration, coping styles, acculturation strategies, and prior criminal victimization. Both Ethiopian (M = 4.44) and FSU (M = 4.20) immigrants preferred integration to other acculturation strategies (p < .05). However, for Ethiopian immigrants, their high integration scores coexist with separation from Israeli society. There were no significant differences between the two groups of immigrants as for fear of crime. Several explanations for these findings are discussed. These results challenge notions of a single acculturation strategy. Ethiopian immigrants show a pattern of “cultural ambivalence” where both integration and separation are used, while FSU immigrants demonstrate patterns of “cultural modularity,” where integration and assimilation strategies coexist.

  • The Neighborhood Context of Perceived and Reported Anti-White Hate Crimes

    Hate crimes have received substantial scholarly attention, largely focusing on victims from marginal groups. Large numbers of White Americans also report being the victim of racial hate crime, though very little research has sought to examine the etiology or meaning of anti-White hate crimes. The present work explores the neighborhood context of hate crimes against non-Hispanic Whites in a majority-White city—comparing police reports with self-reported victimizations. Police reports of anti-White hate crimes are most common in areas that have high rates of nonhate crimes and residential instability. Perceptions of bias incidents, by contrast, appear largely driven by the racial composition. Hate crimes against members of dominant groups appear fundamentally distinct from hate crimes against members of subordinate groups and require separate theoretical models of their substantive meaning and etiology. In general, White residents appear to interpret the motivations for victimizations through a racial lens—attributing anti-White motivations most often when they live near larger numbers of Black neighbors—and reporting them most frequently in disorganized and higher crime places. Implications for theory and research on hate crimes, racial threat, anti-White racism, and the effect of the racial composition on perceptions of crime are discussed.

  • Controlling the Crown: Legal Efforts to Professionalize Black Hair

    Similar to other aspects of life, White cultural norms influence the evaluations and expectations placed on Black women in the workplace. Even though Bo Derek inspired many White women to wear braids after her character in the film 10, the New York District Court sided with American Airlines when Renee Rogers sued her employer for denying her the right to wear similar braids to work. Nearly 40 years later, laws in California and New York City have finally acknowledged this approach as racial discrimination by making it illegal for any public and private entity from discriminating against Black hair. Building off these competing legal interpretations, this article analyzes the discrimination targeted at Black women’s hairstyles, the directions provided by both the New York City Human Rights Law and the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act, and the relevance that this issue has for Black women across the nation.

  • Friend Not Foe? Reconsidering Race, the Police, and Community Relations

    Given the complicated historical and contemporary relationship between law enforcement and African Americans, academic and popular commentary have focused intently on the existence of conflict between the police and the Black citizenry in the United States. The current project, however, seeks to broaden understanding in this area by exploring the extent to which African Americans know the police in positive, informal ways. Based on a 2017 national-level survey of 1,000 African Americans, this project explores the extent of survey participants’ association with police officers as well as potential predictors of those relationships. Specifically, binary logistic regression is used to analyze the relationship between the survey respondents’ social bonds, demographic characteristics, and their relationships with police officers. The analyses reveal that respondents’ ties to the police were common, with nearly one in four having a police officer as a family member and a majority having some relationship with officers. Those with stakes in conformity were more likely to have bonds to officers, although racial homophily likely also accounts for knowing police officers. Importantly, this project demonstrates the complexity of African Americans’ relationships with the police and identifies further lines of inquiry that might profitably be explored.

  • Unpacking the Theory of African American Offending: A Qualitative Exploration of Racial Socialization Processes and Their Effects on African American Male College Students

    In 2011, Dr. James Unnever and Dr. Shaun Gabbidon introduced a Theory of African American Offending, which posits that African American offending is motivated in part by common experiences of racism. They argue that these experiences contribute to a shared worldview that includes both an accumulation of bad feelings toward pro-social institutions and legal cynicism toward the justice system, leading to decreased social bonds and a greater predilection toward delinquency. They also suggest that racial socialization can help to mitigate these effects of racism. Previous studies have found support for this idea, but few have examined the mechanisms by which racial socialization takes place. The current study uses qualitative interviews to explore the racial socialization process among a sample of Black male college students in a Midwestern public university. The findings reveal that racial socialization processes vary widely among male college students in terms of content (police contact, dating, safety), sources (parents, grandparents, peers, and other adult role models), timing, and the effect on social bonds to White-dominated institutions. Implications of the findings for the research on race, racial socialization, social problems, and criminological theory are presented and discussed.

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