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Effects of Racism on Perceptions and Punishment of Intra- and Interracial Crimes

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 25 Issue: 10 Dated: October 2010 Pages: 1767-1784
Donald A. Saucier; Jericho M. Hockett; Danielle C. Zanotti; Sarah Heffel
Date Published
October 2010
18 pages
This study examined the effects of participant's levels of racism on their perceptions of the intra- and interracial crimes.
The majority of hate crimes in the United States are driven by racial bias. However, extra-legal factors such as the perpetrators' motivations, the races of the victims and perpetrators, and the presence or absence of hate symbols or slurs often result in ambiguity in the classification of crimes as hate crimes. This uncertainty evokes consideration of how such crimes are characterized and of how violent intra- and interracial crimes are perceived and responded to. The current study used violent crime vignettes to explore the effects of participants' levels of racism, perpetrator and victim race, and assault severity on perceptions of crimes as "hate crimes," victim blame, and sentence recommendations. These results contribute to the understanding of how intra- and interracial crimes are perceived and how individuals' levels of racism affect these perceptions. (Published Abstract)