Racial issues and jury decisions: A study of aversive racism
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Type of Work36 pages
The purpose of this study was to ascertain if Caucasians jurors can be influenced by the perceived presence of African Americans jurors, in regards to court proceedings. The main objective was to determine whether racism is prevalent in an aversive form injury decision making among Caucasians. Aversive racism occurs when Caucasians publicly express equality for all people, but possess negative feelings and values toward African Americans. The study involved a mock jury simulation case and attempted to determine whether the majority race of the jury or the race of the defense lawyer influence Caucasian jurors' decisions about guilt or innocence of an African American defendant. The White Racial Identity Attitudes Scale (Carter, 1990), and the New Racism Scale (Jacobson, 1985) were used to assess racial attitudes. The results indicated that Caucasian participants found the defendant not guilty, and viewed the defendant in a positive and non-racial way. Correlational analyses of the racial attitudes scales paralleled flndings of Carter (1990). Specifically, more female participants hold less racial beliefs, and endorsed racial equality and understanding more than male participants.