ryan d. king and brian d. johnson's, "a punishing look: skin tone and afrocentric features in the halls of justice," examines the relationship between afrocentric facial features, incarceration and skin tone. they extend the analysis of these variables to sentence type as well as length.
published in the american journal of sociology, the unique study matched detailed sentencing records from two minnesota counties with over 850 coded bookings of black and white males.
the researchers found afrocentricity, race and skin color were not associated with any significant disparities in lengths of imprisonment. but they influenced whether individuals were sentenced to prison - as opposed to being placed on probation or having their charge adjusted to a misdemeanor. afrocentric appearances also affected white defendants, even after accounting for hispanic surnames.
there is a disproportionate number of people of color who cycle in and out of the criminal justice system. more and more americans can no longer be easily defined by a single racial group. as such, king and johnson note the importance of continuing to further examine facial features and skin tone in the study of unequal punishment.
"if perceived race is becoming amorphous, then skin tone and afrocentric facial features are likely to become even more salient concepts in the future...even subtle differences in the racial appearance of offenders can tilt the scales of justice," researchers wrote.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.