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Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(3), 67; doi:10.3390/socsci6030067

Media Exposure and Racialized Perceptions of Inequities in Criminal Justice

1
Department of Criminology, Anthropology, & Sociology, Cleveland State University, 2121 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115, USA
2
Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3265, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 March 2017 / Revised: 21 June 2017 / Accepted: 22 June 2017 / Published: 25 June 2017
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Abstract

Does media exposure to salient criminological events exacerbate racialized perceptions of injustice? We examine whether closely following media coverage of the fatal encounter of George Zimmerman’s shooting of Trayvon Martin moderates racial and ethnic differences in opinion surrounding the event and the U.S. criminal justice system. Our analysis addresses several key aspects of the case: Whether Zimmerman would have been arrested sooner if Martin had been white, whether respondents felt Zimmerman’s acquittal was justified, and whether there is racial bias against African Americans in the criminal justice system. Relying on national opinion surveys before and after Zimmerman’s trial verdict, our findings support the racial gradient thesis by demonstrating that sustained exposure to racialized framing of the incident in the media affects Hispanics the most and hardens entrenched attitudes among African Americans relative to whites. The analysis supports the continuing relevance of the mass media in attitude formation. View Full-Text
Keywords: media exposure; public perceptions; Trayvon Martin; inequality; race; criminal justice media exposure; public perceptions; Trayvon Martin; inequality; race; criminal justice
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wright, V.; Unah, I. Media Exposure and Racialized Perceptions of Inequities in Criminal Justice. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 67.

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