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Justice in America
The Separate Realities of Blacks and Whites

Part of Cambridge Studies in Public Opinion and Political Psychology

  • Date Published: June 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521134750

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About the Authors
  • As reactions to the O. J. Simpson verdict, the Rodney King beating, and the Amadou Diallo killing make clear, whites and African Americans in the United States inhabit two different perceptual worlds, with the former seeing the justice system as largely fair and color blind and the latter believing it to be replete with bias and discrimination. The authors tackle two important questions in this book: what explains the widely differing perceptions, and why do such differences matter? They attribute much of the racial chasm to the relatively common personal confrontations that many blacks have with law enforcement – confrontations seldom experienced by whites. More importantly, the authors demonstrate that this racial chasm is consequential: it leads African Americans to react much more cynically to incidents of police brutality and racial profiling, and also to be far more skeptical of punitive anti-crime policies ranging from the death penalty to three-strikes laws.

    • Uses innovative survey experiments to uncover how Whites and Blacks formulate and use their widely differing views of the fairness of the justice system in the US
    • Explores the personal characteristics of respondents of both races as well as various situational components of particular anti-crime policies (e.g. various arguments against capital punishment)
    • Allows us to understand why some individuals (but not others) become polarized in their beliefs; and why some phenomena (but not others) generate a polarized response from citizens
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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521134750
    • length: 276 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 20 b/w illus. 13 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Racial bias in the justice system: reality and perception
    3. The role of fairness
    4. The consequences of fairness: polarized reactions to police brutality and racial profiling
    5. The consequences of fairness: support for punitive crime policies
    6. Conclusions
    Appendix A. National survey and survey items
    Appendix B. Examining reciprocal effects of unfair treatment and neighborhood discrimination.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Criminology & Public Policy
    • Introduction to Ethnic Studies
    • Judicial Process
    • Law, Politics, and Society
    • Political Psychology
    • The Criminal Justice System
    • The Politics of Race and Ethnicity
  • Authors

    Mark Peffley, University of Kentucky
    Mark Peffley is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Kentucky. He is co-editor of Perception and Prejudice: Race and Politics in the U.S. (1998) and the journal Political Behavior. His articles have appeared in numerous journals, including American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, International Studies Quarterly, and Political Psychology.

    Jon Hurwitz, University of Pittsburgh
    Jon Hurwitz is currently a Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh. He is co-editor of Perception and Prejudice: Race and Politics in the U.S. (1998) and the journal Political Behavior. His articles have appeared in numerous journals, including American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, International Studies Quarterly, and Political Psychology.

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