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RACIAL ANIMOSITY AND INTERRACIAL CRIME

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Abstract:

The primary objective of this study is to determine the effect of a victim's race on the likelihood of him or her being seriously injured during the commission of an interracial crime. We also assess the probability of a homicide occurring during an interracial crime. A multilevel city analysis shows that black offenders are no more apt than white offenders to injure their victims seriously during an interracial robbery or rape. A black offender also does not have a greater proclivity to kill his or her victim during the commission of an interracial crime. Some evidence suggests that white victims are more likely than black victims to suffer serious physical harm during an aggravated assault. Results also reveal that contextual factors related to racial animosity, such as residential segregation, white-to-black economic inequality, and black-to-white unemployment, fail to have any moderating effect on either the severity of victim injury or the likelihood of a homicide occurring during an interracial crime. Overall, the results generated in this study tend to cast doubt on the validity of racial animosity theory. Our findings also lead us to question the veracity of the oftenmade claim that black-on-white crimes are punished more severely because these types of offenses are somehow more heinous in circumstance. At least in regard to serious victim injury and victim death, black-on-white crime is no more violent than white-on-black crime.

Keywords: National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS); interracial crime; racial animosity; victim injury

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9125.2009.00145.x

Affiliations: Department of Criminal Justice, Florida International University

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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