Is the Criminal Justice System Colorblind? The Separate Realities of Blacks and Whites

John Sides Jul 25 '13

I’ve been remiss in linking to my latest post at Wonkblog.  It is an interview with political scientists Mark Peffley and Jon Hurwitz about their work on race and perceptions of the criminal justice system and the implications of this work for Trayvon Martin’s death and George Zimmerman’s acquital.  Here is an excerpt:

Q: Does a case like Trayvon Martin’s make the “realities” of blacks and whites more separate then?

A: Our research shows how events like the Trayvon Martin case widen the racial divide in the U.S.  When high-profile, incendiary events smack of racial profiling and/or police brutality against people of color, blacks, who view the system as discriminatory and distrust law enforcement, are deeply suspicious about whether justice will prevail. Whites who view the system as color-blind and are much more trusting of the police, discount the likelihood of police misconduct or racial bias when the suspects or victims are African American. Events like the Trayvon Martin case reinforce and intensify more generalized judgments about the fairness of the system.

More in the post.  Peffley and Hurwitz’s recent book is Justice in America: The Separate Realities of Blacks and Whites.