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Thread: White People Support Harsher Criminal Laws If They Think More Black People Are Arrested

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    Default White People Support Harsher Criminal Laws If They Think More Black People Are Arrested

    is this study legit? wtf?

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/201...-are-arrested/

    A recent study suggests that, if you are white, and you are presented with evidence that our criminal justice system disproportionately targets black people, then you are more likely to support harsh criminal justice policies than if you were unaware of this evidence. According to a study by Rebecca Hetey, a post-doctoral fellow in Stanford’s Psychology department and Jennifer Eberhardt, her faculty advisor, informing white people that African Americans are significantly over-represented in the prison population “may actually bolster support for the very policies that perpetuate the inequality.”

    Forty percent of the nation’s prison population is black, as compared to only 12 percent of the population as a whole.

    To reach their conclusions, Hetey and Eberhardt conducted two experiments involving white subjects. In the first, white people were asked to watch one of two videos containing mug shots. In one video, 25 percent of the mug shots were pictures of black men, while in the other video, 45 percent of the mug shots depicted African American males. After watching the video, the subjects were then asked whether they would sign a petition calling for one of California’s strict sentencing laws to be eased.

    The result: “Over half of the participants who’d seen the mug shots with fewer black men signed the petition, whereas only 27 percent of people who viewed the mug shots containing a higher percentage of black inmates agreed to sign.”

    In the second experiment, two groups of white New Yorkers were shown different statistical data about the racial makeup of the prison population. One group was shown data indicating that 40 percent of prisoners are black while the other group was shown that 60 percent are black. Once again, the group that was led to believe that fewer people in the criminal justice system are African Americans were more likely to support liberalizing criminal justice policies. In this case, the New Yorkers were asked if they would sign a petition calling for the end of New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy. Thirty-three percent of the subjects who were led to believe that fewer African Americans are incarcerated were willing to sign the petition. Only 12 percent of the other group were willing to do so.

    As Hetey notes, this research could have profound implications for advocates seeking to convince voters — or, at least, white voters — to support less harsh criminal justice policy. “Many legal advocates and social activists seem to assume that bombarding the public with images, statistics and other evidence of racial disparities will motivate people to join the cause and fight inequality,” according to Hetey. “But we found that, ironically, exposure to extreme racial disparities may make the public less, and not more, responsive to attempts to lessen the severity of policies that help maintain those disparities.”

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    I think it would be more accurate to say that white people do not support more lenient legislation when the proportions of the benefitting parties are divided in the following manner: [complete proportions, not just "more blacks]. Remember that more blacks probably meant less whites shown. But if this study is properly conducted, white people have a racial bias.
    “I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people in — and the West in general — into an unbearable hell and a choking life. - Osama bin Laden

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    I think it's fairly clear that race is still something that sticks out like a sore thumb in America. There are two very different cultures which are prominently seen: WASP/severe authoritarian nepotistic whites and their offshoots, which are well-known, because office-working America is chock-full of their culture, and the rap/hood/whatever culture, which is mostly black, and routinely underclass or lowlife based, these two classes are obviously very different and very visible as you go throughout your life. There are some fairly engrained stereotypes that are hard to avoid. I can definitely see one culture attacking another.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquagraph View Post
    I think it would be more accurate to say that white people do not support more lenient legislation when the proportions of the benefitting parties are divided in the following manner: [complete proportions, not just "more blacks]. Remember that more blacks probably meant less whites shown. But if this study is properly conducted, white people have a racial bias.
    Yes, the language the press uses about research articles is often very imprecise. I'm curious about the racial breakdown of the mugshots too. Specifically, if they were shown fewer Black mugshots, did they make up for the difference by using mostly White mugshots, or did they largely include other ethnic minorities? If it's the former, I'm thinking it was easier to empathize when they saw pictures of people of their own ethnicity. Either way, it's still racist.

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    "Each anti-racist action we take brings new racist action and
    challenges"


    http://www.stcloudstate.edu/affirmativeaction/resources/insights/pdf/28ToolsChange.pdf
    Last edited by Amber; 08-08-2014 at 11:27 AM.

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    I'd be more concerned about the individual laws themselves and what the lenient legislation is lenient towards.

    But I'd have to see what mug shots they used because if I had to make a decision based on seeing some mean looking african americans versus weaker, more innocent looking white people, I probably would choose harsher laws because that's all I had to go on. And it wouldn't exactly make me racist if the impression shown for one group is amplified compared to other. So I'd have to see the mugshots before I believe the claims of racism.

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    Why is it so surprising? People are assholes...

    Straight People Support Stricter Amendments to Define Marriage Between One Man and One Woman if they discover Gays want to marry.

    Same concept, same hate. Pure equality won't ever really exist... society might be 'politically correct' but how people really feel will always seethe under the surface.
    Last edited by bnd; 08-09-2014 at 06:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by truck View Post
    how people really feel will always seethe under the surface.
    I think this was key to the study. Rather than present the participants with cold, hard facts about the demographics of the prison population, the researchers presented faces of people. This illicted a response that was more primal and emotional -- "these people are not like me." I'd also be interested in a study that solely focused on the facts, though, because it gets at a more intellectual level that I think might be more indicative of people's beliefs about racism, rather than those feelings simmering under the surface. While those beliefs and feelings are undoubtedly intertwined, the hope is that our well-intentioned beliefs can ultimately prevail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by April View Post
    Rather than present the participants with cold, hard facts about the demographics of the prison population, the researchers presented faces of people. This illicted a response that was more primal and emotional -- "these people are not like me." I'd also be interested in a study that solely focused on the facts, though, because it gets at a more intellectual level that I think might be more indicative of people's beliefs about racism, (..).
    So you really think that "facts" exclusively, statistically speaking (number of African-Americans in prison) are what makes some white employers reject black candidates applying for jobs or suspect colored folks of stealing stuff? The study may have gone to the root of the matter. Ingrained racist tendencies (and even subconscious bias) in people are part of the facts. Dismantling hegemonic structures also implies those kinds of studies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solaris View Post
    So you really think that "facts" exclusively, statistically speaking (number of African-Americans in prison) are what makes some white employers reject black candidates applying for jobs or suspect colored folks of stealing stuff? The study may have gone to the root of the matter. Ingrained racist tendencies (and even subconscious bias) in people are part of the facts. Dismantling hegemonic structures also implies those kinds of studies.
    No, I was not suggesting what you're saying. I am interested in various levels of racism (e.g., conscious and subconscious like you mention), and their respective practical ramifications, though they may be scientifically impossible to truly disentangle. I also wanted to offer optimism in suggesting that the better parts of ourselves may have the ability to overcome.

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