Reaction Paper: Race, Crime, and Punishment Has Been Highly

Pages: 3 (1070 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Race  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … race, crime, and punishment has been highly acrimonious and contentious since the establishment of the republic. Although there has never been any widely held consensus as to whether or not sanctions against certain races and minorities are more severe than against white members of society, there have been a number of studies conducted that attempt to measure the perceptions of different groups in society regarding the perception that blacks and other minorities are treated differently by the legal system than whites are and that this perception is that the system is both biased and unfair toward blacks and other minorities. The studies that have been conducted, however, have suffered from two major problems First, the studies largely fail to consider both criminal and non-criminal punishment and, secondly, they have failed to consider other factors such as demographic variables and other discriminatory and legitimacy attitudes. A study by three University of Texas at Dallas criminology professors, Dr. Alex Piquero, Dr. Nicole Leeper Piquero, and Dr. J.C. Barnes, however, have published a study that attempted to close these loopholes from prior studies (Piquero, 2011).

In the study it was found that non-whites believe that NFL football player Michael Vick was punished too harshly for his role in a dog-fighting case and that whites, when viewing the results in the same case, believe that Vick was treated too lightly. The researchers involved in the study elected to use the Vick case as the backdrop for their research because of the inherent interest in the case and the fact that it was the source of so much public outcry. The results of the study were based not only what the public felt about his criminal punishment but also on the sanctions that were imposed by the NFL prior to his being reinstated by the league. Interestingly, there was no change in attitude by the public. Whites felt that Vick should not have been reinstated by the league while non-whites held a contrary view.

The methodology used by the researchers was to conduct a phone survey of 400 adults spread across the full expanse of the United States. In the survey the responders were asked a variety of questions regarding their attitudes toward Vick, the NFL, race, taxes, and animal cruelty. The analysis of the researchers suggests that there are important divides between how the legal system metes out punishment and how society reintegrates criminal offenders into society. Not surprisingly, the results highlight the fact that white and non-whites perceive the law and its administration in remarkably different ways (Peffley, 2002).

The study certainly answers the broader issue of how whites and non-whites view the legal system in general and how the two different groups view how the sanctions are administered but the study still fails to answer why these perceptions have developed. Michael Vick was used as the lightening rod because of his notoriety and his popularity as a player. It was felt by the researchers that this would help them obtain more accurate and statistically reliable results and, indeed using Vick may have been helpful, but the study still missed some vital points.

For the average white the entire concept of dog fighting is inherently reprehensible… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Race, Crime, and Punishment Has Been Highly.  (2011, October 18).  Retrieved June 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/race-crime-punishment-been-highly/9398

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"Race, Crime, and Punishment Has Been Highly."  Essaytown.com.  October 18, 2011.  Accessed June 20, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/race-crime-punishment-been-highly/9398.