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NCJ Number: 68861 Find in a Library
Title: SOCIAL STATUS AND THE BLACK VIOLENCE HYPOTHESIS
Journal: JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY  Volume:111  Dated:(JUNE 1980)  Pages:131-137
Author(s): R W PERRY
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 7
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: MARINE CORPS INMATES WERE STUDIED TO DETERMINE IF RACE AND SOCIAL STATUS AFFECTED VIOLENT CRIME INCARCERATION RATES. RESULTS SHOWED BLACK IMPRISONMENT STATISTICS WERE STILL HIGHER THAN THOSE OF WHITES.
Abstract: BECAUSE OF OBSERVATIONS THAT BLACKS ARE MORE OFTEN JAILED FOR VIOLENT CRIMES THAN WHITES, SOCIAL SCIENTISTS HYPOTHESIZED THAT BLACKS WERE MORE PRONE TO VIOLENT BEHAVIOR. HOWEVER, CRITICS POINT OUT THAT THE THEORY IS BASED ON BIVARIATE ANALYSES WHICH DO NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT CONTROLS FOR SOCIAL STATUS. IT WAS THEORIZED THAT IF GENERAL SOCIAL STATUS AND LIFESTYLE WERE CONTROLLED, BLACKS AND WHITES OF SIMILAR STATUS WOULD EXHIBIT SIMILAR TENDENCIES TOWARD VIOLENCE. DATA ON 1,626 MARINE CORPS PRISONERS, COLLECTED INITIALLY DURING A 1972 RACIAL EQUALITY SURVEY FUNDED BY THE OFFICE OF NAVAL RESEARCH, WAS SUPPLEMENTED WITH STATISTICS ON ENLISTED, MALE MARINES NOT IMPRISONED DURING THE SAME PERIOD. VARIABLES SELECTED FOR STUDY WERE RACE (BLACK AND WHITE), EDUCATION, PAY GRADE, AND AGE. VIOLENT CRIMES CHOSEN FOR THE STUDY INCLUDE ASSAULT, MURDER, RAPE, ROBBERY, AND RIOTS. (MILITARY DATA OFFER THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTRODUCE MORE REFINED CONTROLS OVER SOCIAL STATUS VARIABLES THAN CIVILIAN DATA). DATA INDICATE THAT THE BLACK-WHITE DIFFERENTIAL IN VIOLENT CRIMES PERSISTS IN SPITE OF SOCIAL STATUS CONTROLS. EVEN WITH A HOMOGENOUS GROUP, THE PREPONDERANCE OF BLACK VIOLENT OFFENDERS PERSISTS AT NEARLY THE SAME LEVEL AS WAS THE CASE WITHOUT CONTROLS. THIS FINDING OFFERS INDIRECT SUPPORT TO THE ARGUMENT THAT THEY ARE FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCES--CULTURAL, SOCIAL, AND PSYCHOLOGICAL--IN THE WAY MEMBERS OF DIFFERENT RACIAL GROUPS ARE SOCIALIZED AND THAT THE CONSEQUENCES OF THESE PERSIST INTO SUBSEQUENT LIFE EXPERIENCES. THE STUDY SUGGESTS A SOCIALIZATION APPROACH IS NOW THE NEXT MOST POWERFUL ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATION FOR RACE DIFFERENTIALS IN VIOLENT CRIMES. REFERENCES AND A TABLE ARE INCLUDED.
Index Term(s): Behavioral and Social Sciences; Socialization; Violent crime statistics; Violent offenders
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