Presentation Title

The Color of Crime: Racial Perception of Sex Workers

Presenter Information

Kevon WilliamsFollow

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Emily Balcetis

Start Date

18-11-2017 2:15 PM

End Date

18-11-2017 2:30 PM

Location

15-1814

Session

Social Science 4

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

Studies have illustrated that compared to Whites, Black people are disproportionately incarcerated, insisting there is a significant difference in legal treatment towards Blacks. Although studies have highlighted this division in the conception of criminality in Blacks versus Whites, a limited amount of psychological research has highlighted how racial bias affects legal judgement. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to analyze race influence on legal judgement by measuring participants, perception of a convicted female sex worker’s control over her circumstance if she were Black versus White. We used “sex work” as a manipulation to control for the confound of race being attributed the type of crime. Crimes involving violence or theft have been colored, but sex work has been feminized, being attributed to gender more than race. Thus, we used the feminizing of sex work to analyze if race would still impact the perception of criminality. In this study, the manipulation (sex worker) will be identified as target (e.g. black sex worker = black target and white sex worker = white target). Participants ( N = 171) were asked to read a vignette paired with a photo of either a Black woman (n = 92) or White woman (n = 79). Subsequently, all participants completed a survey rating the targets overall control; their individual sympathy toward the targets circumstance; and the expected sympathy the target would receive from others. We questioned will perceptions of control differ based on the race of the target; does the White target receive more sympathy than the Black target; and will there be a difference between levels of sympathy from self compared to the sympathy ratings of others? We hypothesized that the black target would be judged more critically, being perceived as having more control and receiving less sympathy, than the white target.

Summary of research results to be presented

In a univariate analysis of participants perception of the targets control, there was no significant difference in judgement for the Black target versus the White target. However, when doing a t-test analyzing the participants race influence on the perception of the black target control compared to the white target, significance varied. While white participants perception of the targets control were fairly similar in both conditions, non white participants perceived the black target to have more control than the white target, p = .011. Analyzing participants ratings of individual sympathy for the target compared the expected sympathy of others, t-test analysis shows that participants rated their sympathy significantly higher than how others would sympathize, p = .006. Comparing sympathy scores based on the race of the target through multivariate analysis, significance also varied. While participants rated themselves as having more sympathy for the white target, participants expected others to have more sympathy for the black target, p = .000.

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Nov 18th, 2:15 PM Nov 18th, 2:30 PM

The Color of Crime: Racial Perception of Sex Workers

15-1814

Studies have illustrated that compared to Whites, Black people are disproportionately incarcerated, insisting there is a significant difference in legal treatment towards Blacks. Although studies have highlighted this division in the conception of criminality in Blacks versus Whites, a limited amount of psychological research has highlighted how racial bias affects legal judgement. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to analyze race influence on legal judgement by measuring participants, perception of a convicted female sex worker’s control over her circumstance if she were Black versus White. We used “sex work” as a manipulation to control for the confound of race being attributed the type of crime. Crimes involving violence or theft have been colored, but sex work has been feminized, being attributed to gender more than race. Thus, we used the feminizing of sex work to analyze if race would still impact the perception of criminality. In this study, the manipulation (sex worker) will be identified as target (e.g. black sex worker = black target and white sex worker = white target). Participants ( N = 171) were asked to read a vignette paired with a photo of either a Black woman (n = 92) or White woman (n = 79). Subsequently, all participants completed a survey rating the targets overall control; their individual sympathy toward the targets circumstance; and the expected sympathy the target would receive from others. We questioned will perceptions of control differ based on the race of the target; does the White target receive more sympathy than the Black target; and will there be a difference between levels of sympathy from self compared to the sympathy ratings of others? We hypothesized that the black target would be judged more critically, being perceived as having more control and receiving less sympathy, than the white target.