Race And Racial Empathy Gap Essay

3098 Words Dec 19th, 2014 null Page
1. The strongest empirically supportable claim that I can make for the significance of race/ethnicity in criminal justice proceedings is that there exists a “racial empathy gap.” Recent studies have shown that both blacks and whites hold an “empathy gap” towards blacks that can influence the punishments minorities receive in schools and within the United States criminal system. To begin, there must be an examination of what this “racial empathy gap” is. What multiple studies have shown is that black people are perceived by others to experience less pain then others. One study found that people, including medical personal and individuals of color, have a natural disposition to thinking that African-Americans experience less pain than Caucasians. What causes this disparity in perceived pain? According to the researchers, the cause of this pain might be the “assumptions about what it means to be black” (Silverstein). During additional experiments, the researchers studied how beliefs towards an individuals adversity and privilege would effect their empathy for pain towards them. What the results showed was that the more hardship the target was perceived to have, then less pain was perceived. These results led to researchers concluding that “the present work finds that people assume that, relative to whites, blacks feel less pain because they have faced more hardship.” It is quite the vicious cycle. People expect African-Americans to experience more pain, which means they are…

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