In a recent study, Amanda Graham of Georgia Southern University and her team of researchers sought to determine if race and ethnicity predict worries about experiencing police brutality as well as if there are substantive differences in this level of worry among racial and ethnic groups. One of the many ways in which this study differs from previous studies is Hispanic Americans are included in the statistical sample along with White Americans and Black Americans.
This is a fundamental change to the hypothesis upon which many previous studies found their foundation. Now, instead of building upon a racial-divide hypothesis, it’s building upon a racial/ethnic-gradient hypothesis. The gradient is one of skin tone, and so as it relates to the criminal justice system, according to this hypothesis, Blacks comparatively perceive more injustice compared to Hispanics, but Hispanics perceive more injustice than Whites. Further, this perceived injustice should fall midway between that of White Americans and Black Americans.
The results of the study differed from this hypothesis. That is the “level of worry” among Hispanics did not fall midway between Whites and Blacks but almost that of Blacks.
- Graham, Amanda, et al. “Race and Worrying About Police Brutality: The Hidden Injuries of Minority Status in America.” Victims & Offenders (2020): 1-25.