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Centering race in procedural justice theory: Systemic racism and the under-policing and over-policing of Black communities

Published onApr 01, 2021
Centering race in procedural justice theory: Systemic racism and the under-policing and over-policing of Black communities
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Centering race in procedural justice theory: Systemic racism and the under-policing and over-policing of Black communities
Description

Objectives. Bring people’s perceptions of systemic racism into procedural justice theory. Test an expanded model of police legitimacy that includes people’s perceptions of the under-policing and over-policing of Black communities. Methods. A cross-sectional survey based on a quota sample of 1,500 US residents designed to resemble the general population on the bases of race, gender, and age. Key measures are procedural justice, distributive justice, bounded authority, police legitimacy, perceptions of under-policing of Black communities, perceptions of over-policing of Black communities, and perceptions of systemic racism in the police. Structural equation modelling examines conditional correlations between latent constructs.Results. People’s perceptions of systemic under-policing and over-policing of Black communities are strongly associated with perceived police racism. Perceptions of under-policing and over-policing predict perceptions of the fairness and legitimacy of the police. These findings holds for both white and Black respondents.Conclusions. We provide ‘proof of concept’ in this particular approach to centering race in procedural justice theory. Findings also point to a pressing need to address the paradoxical law enforcement practices that have kept American police forces in service to structural racism and left Black communities both unprotected and over-regulated.

 

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