Study: Black Mock Jurors Appear To Be Racially Bigoted Against Whites
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Earlier: Chauvin’s Crucifixion: Can Jury System Survive Women, Minorities—And Falling IQ?

Political scientist LJ Zigerell blogs:

Racial discrimination among Black mock jurors, from Rice et al. 2021 JOP

L.J Zigerell Posted on July 12, 2021 Posted in Race 2 Comments

Forthcoming at the Journal of Politics is Rice et al. 2021 “Same As It Ever Was? The Impact of Racial Resentment on White Juror Decision-Making“.

The study focuses on potential racist bias among white jurors, but, Zigerell implies, holy cow, are black jurors ever bigoted.

Rice et al. 2021 concerned a mock juror experiment regarding an 18-year-old starting point guard on his high school basketball team who was accused of criminal battery. Participants indicated whether the defendant was guilty or not guilty and suggested a prison sentence length from 0 to 60 months for the defendant. The experimental manipulation was that the target was randomly assigned to be named Bradley Schwartz or Jamal Gaines.

Methodologically, “Bradley Schwartz” is a bad choice of a white name since many Schwartzes are Jewish, which pointlessly adds a potentially complicating factor. “Bradley Schultz” or “Bradley Schmidt” are good can-only-be-white names that are generally not Jewish, but, being German, could be either Protestant or Catholic, while say “Bradley Kowalski” would read Catholic and “Bradley Huntington” would read Protestant: i.e., a non-Jewish German surname is pretty close to generic white.

… The experiment did not detect sufficient evidence of racial bias among White participants as a whole. But what about Black participants? Results indicated a relatively large favoring of Jamal over Bradley among Black participants, in unweighted data (N=41 per condition). For guilt, the bias was 29 percentage points in unweighted analyses, and 33 percentage points in weighted analyses. For sentence length, the bias was 8.7 months in unweighted analyses, and 9.4 months in weighted analyses, relative to a unweighted standard deviation of 16.1 months in sentence length among Black respondents.

The white mock jurors were slightly biased in favor of the black version of the defendant, but the black mock jurors were hugely biased:

If this pattern of black bigotry in the jury room replicates, it would seem like a rather major problem for the American criminal justice system. But don’t expect much attention to be paid: our mindsets these days are so dominated by presumptions about who are the Good Guys (blacks) and who are the Bad Guys (whites) that it’s increasingly difficult for Americans to even consider counter-evidence. The brain simply refuses to do the work of thinking through potentially cancellable thoughts.

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