Vt4001 and 4002 – apa and case study

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please see documents attached, the PDF is the article needed for VT4001 questions 2 and 3

ANSWER UNDER QUESTION, I WILL SORT IT OUT LATER! REFERENCES ON SEPARATE PAGE PLEASE!!!

1) Respond to the following in 200 words:

· Briefly describe one property crime and one violent crime.

· Identify the direct and indirect victim(s) of each crime.

· Explain the effect of the crimes on both direct and indirect victims and how their needs differ. For each crime, address the effects on two of these areas:

· Medical

· Emotional

· Physical

· Financial

ANSWER:::

2) Respond to the following in 200 words:

· Based on the case or news item that your instructor posted or that you found, describe one bias you may have in relation to the circumstances.

· Determine whether your bias falls in the category of victim blaming or is a bias toward the offender and explain why.

· Explain how media coverage of the case contributes to overall bias and the possibility of jury bias.

ANSWER::::

3) Respond to the following in 500 words:

· Describe the criminal case you selected. Then, explain how the criminal case has influenced legislation and affected the evolution of victimology.

· Explain how this legislation elevated the status of victims in the American criminal justice system.

· Explain how the case highlights the victim perspective in a way previously not considered in typical views of the crime.

· Describe the positive changes that have occurred in terms of support for victims.

· Make one recommendation to address a need that still exists to support victims in the criminal justice system. Explain how your recommendation helps.

ANSWER::::

APA FORMAT WITH REFERENCES PLEASE!!!!!

To prepare:

· Choose one of the following theories to address.

1. Routine activity

2. Deviant place

3. Lifestyle

4. Victim participation

The Performance Task:

Address the following:

· Which victimization theory best explains the primary reason for victimization in the city, state, or nation in which you live? Why? (FLORIDA, UNITED STATES)

· How can you apply concepts from this theory to protect yourself from being victimized?

· How can law enforcement application of this theory assist with the decrease of violent victimization?

To prepare:

· Find a criminal case that aligns with at least one of the perspectives in the following theories:

1. Routine activity

2. Deviant place

3. Lifestyle

4. Victim participation

The Performance Task:

As a way to address the crime that occurred in the criminal case you found, write a proposal for a new or changed process or practice that is based on a victimization theory.

First, in 200 words:

· Explain how the applicable theory could apply to the case you found.

Next, in 500 words:

· Choose one theory of focus that applies to the case.

· Identify an existing process or practice that would benefit from a change.

· For the purpose of this assignment, consider a process or practice to be an action that can be taken at the day-to-day level, such as employing certain interview techniques, increasing patrols, improving response times, etc.

· Explain why that change would be beneficial.

· Propose the following to address the circumstances in your chosen case:

· A theory-based process or practice change that could help prevent another occurrence of the crime

· A theory-based process or practice change that could improve outcomes for the victim

· Explain how these types of change could create positive social change.

Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 73, No. 4, 2017, pp. 789–807
doi: 10.1111/josi.12248

This article is part of the Special Issue “What Social Science Research Says
About Police Violence Against Racial and Ethnic Minorities: Understanding
the Antecedents and Consequences,” Kristin N. Dukes, and Kimberly B.
Kahn (Special Issue Editors). For a full listing of Special Issue papers, see:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/josi.2017.73.issue-4/issuetoc.

Black Racial Stereotypes and Victim Blaming:
Implications for Media Coverage and Criminal
Proceedings in Cases of Police Violence against Racial
and Ethnic Minorities

Kristin Nicole Dukes∗
Simmons College

Sarah E. Gaither
Duke University

Posthumous stereotypical media portrayals of Michael Brown and other racial
and ethnic minority victims of police violence have sparked questions about the
influence of racial stereotypes on public opinions about their deaths and criminal
proceedings for their killers. However, few studies have empirically investigated
how the specific type of information released about a victim impacts opinions
surrounding such incidents. Participants (N = 453) read about an altercation
that resulted in a shooting death where the race of the victim and shooter (Black
vs. White) was randomly assigned. Participants learned either negative, Black
male stereotypic or positive, Black male counterstereotypic information about
the victim. Next, participants appraised levels of fault and blame, sympathy and
empathy for the victim and shooter, and indictment recommendations for the
shooter. Findings suggest that the type of information released about a victim
can significantly sway attitudes toward the victim and the shooter. Implications
for media portrayals of racial/ethnic minority victims of police violence and its
impact on criminal sentencing are discussed.

“Michael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel . . . He lived in a community
that had rough patches, and he dabbled in drugs and alcohol. He had taken to rapping in
recent months, producing lyrics that were by turns contemplative and vulgar . . . ”

John Eligon, New York Times, August 24, 2014

∗Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kristin Nicole Dukes, Department
of Psychology, Simmons College, Boston, MA 02115. [e-mail: [email protected]].

789

C© 2017 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues

790 Dukes and Gaither

The above quote from a New York Times article titled “Michael Brown Spent
Last Weeks Grappling with Problem and Promise” was published just days after the
shooting death of Michael Brown. He was an 18-year-old, unarmed Black teenager
shot by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO. A similar characterization of
Brown was replayed outside of print media on television and across social media
as well. For instance, HBO talk show host Bill Maher commented, “I’m sorry, but
Michael Brown’s people say he is a gentle giant . . . He was acting like a thug, not
like a gentle giant” (Chasmar, 2014).

But these types of descriptions are not an anomaly (see Reinka & Leach,
2017; Scott, Ma, Sadler, & Correll, 2017 for other perceptions of police violence).
Take, for instance, posthumous characterizations of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old un-
armed Black man killed in 2014 by New York City Police officer Daniel Pantaleo.
New York Post editor Bob McManus described Garner as a “career petty crim-
inal [who] experienced dozens of arrests, but had learned nothing from them.”
McManus blamed Garner for his own death, asserting that he was a “victim
of himself . . . just that simple” (McManus, 2014). Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old
unarmed Black man fatally shot by two Baton Rouge, LA, police officers, Blane
Salamoni and Howie Lake II, in 2016 was similarly characterized. A Baltimore
Sun article about Sterling’s death begins with “Alton was not an admirable man.
His rap sheet . . . is 46-pages long and includes convictions going back 20 years
for illegal weapons possession, battery, carnal knowledge of a teenager (whom
he impregnated), possession of stolen property, disturbing the peace, domes-
tic abuse, and, just last month, failing to register as a sex offender” (Bishop,
2016).

Portrayals of racial and ethnic minority victims of police violence like
the ones mentioned above have been criticized for their potentially damaging
influence on public opinion. But what influence do these characterizations have
on attitudes toward victims, their killers, and ultimately, criminal proceedings?
To explore this question, we first review how race is portrayed in crime coverage
both generally and when representing a victim. Next, in line with our specific
research goal, we highlight some existing work on the role that stereotyping can
play in victim blaming.

Race and Crime Coverage

Research has not only repeatedly shown that racial minorities are overrepre-
sented as criminals or perpetrators compared to their White counterparts in the
media, but also that this media bias promotes public hostility toward those groups
(e.g., Chiricos & Eschholz, 2002; Dixon & Linz, 2000; Entman, 1992; Russell,
1998). Relatedly, other work regarding the criminal justice system and sentenc-
ing suggests that harsher punishments are given for crimes involving racial and
ethnic minorities compared to crimes involving Whites (e.g., Bobo & Johnson,

Victim Blaming and Race 791

2004; Russell, 1998). Furthermore, content analyses have found that Blacks are
also less likely to be depicted as victims than Whites (Bjornstrom, Kaufman,
Peterson, & Slater, 2010; Dixon, Azocar, & Casas, 2003). Repeated exposure to
the underrepresentation of racial/ethnic minorities as victims and overrepresen-
tation of Whites as victims may alter viewers’ perceptions of reality, ultimately,
delegitimizing racial/ethnic minorities as victims and normalizing Whites as the
archetypal victim.

However, when racial minorities are depicted as victims, they are often dehu-
manized, demonized, and criminalized. For example, Smiley and Fakunle (2016)
argue that media depictions of Black male victims are microinsults and microin-
validations. Specifically, their content analysis of recent media coverage of the
deaths of six unarmed Black males (Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley,
Tamir Rice, Tony Robinson, and Freddie Gray) by law enforcement uncovered
four major recurring themes: (1) fixation on victims’ past and/or current behav-
ior as criminal, (2) focus on victims’ physical composition (e.g., large stature)
and attire, (3) emphasis on the location where the victims were killed or lived as
crime-ridden and impoverished, and (4) negative, stereotypical elements about the
victims’ lifestyles. Yet, to date, the broader impact these portrayals have yet to be
experimentally investigated.

Victim Blaming

One potential outcome of negative, stereotypical media characterizations of
racial/ethnic minorities of police violence is that they serve as a rationale for
blaming these victims for their own deaths. To our knowledge, no research has di-
rectly explored the impact of racial stereotyping on victim blaming murder cases
experimentally. Much of empirical work regarding victim blaming has largely
centered on rape incidents. Specifically, previous research has focused on whether
a victim’s social respectability (e.g., a woman having more sexual partners signal-
ing less social respectability) directly influences attributions of fault and blame
in rape cases. Much of this work suggests that less socially respectable rape vic-
tims are perceived to be more at fault for their own rape and that perpetrators
of rape against less socially respectable victims receive less harsh punishments
(Grubb & Turner, 2012; Hockett, Smith, Klausing, & Saucier, 2015). Merging
rape victim research with racial group membership, stereotyping, and criminal
research, more fault should be attributed to a less socially respectable shooting
victim, which, in turn, would lead to a less harsh punishment for the homicide
perpetrator. Here, we propose that negative stereotypes portrayed in the media
about Black victims may decrease their perceived social respectability, and conse-
quently, play a significant role in opinions surrounding the incident and criminal
proceedings.

792 Dukes and Gaither

The Current Study

Despite the prevalence of research regarding racial bias in media coverage
of crime, there is little empirical data to speak to how stereotypic portrayals of
racial and ethnic minority victims might impact public opinions. This question
is particularly worthy of exploration since criminal trials often occur long after a
death, giving the media ample time with which to sway the view of the incident.
Here, we examined how learning negative, Black racially stereotypic information
versus positive, Black counterstereotypic information about a shooting victim af-
fects attributions of fault and blame, sympathy and empathy toward the victim
and shooter, and punishment recommendations for the shooter. Consistent with
previous research on perceived respectability of victims and attributions of fault
and blame, we predicted that participants given negative, Black male stereotypical
victim information would attribute more fault and blame to the victim relative
to those given positive, Black male counterstereotypic victim information. Like-
wise, we expected that participants would express less empathy and sympathy
for negatively stereotyped victims. Finally, we predicted that participants would
attribute less blame and fault, express greater sympathy and empathy, and provide
more lenient punishment recommendations for shooters of negatively character-
ized victims relative to positively characterized victims. Given the emphasis placed
on both victim and perpetrator race in previous media coverage research and in
recent public discourse, we also wanted to investigate whether these same Black
stereotypes also would negatively impact views of White victims. Therefore, vic-
tim and shooter race were also manipulated to examine the broader effects that may
stem from the media endorsing negative, Black stereotypic criminal portrayals for
victims regardless of racial background.

Method

Participants and Design

A total of 475 participants were recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk
to take part in a study on juror decision making in exchange for a small payment.
Participants (n = 22) who failed key manipulation checks were excluded resulting
in a final sample of 453 participants (age range: 18–83 years, M = 38.29, SD =
12.50; 73% White; 48% female). Participants were randomly assigned to a 2
(Victim Information: Negative, Black Stereotypic or Positive, Black Counter-
stereotypic) × 2 (Race of Victim: Black or White) × 2 (Race of Shooter: Black
or White) between-subjects design.

Victim Blaming and Race 793

Materials

Incident scenario. Participants first read a brief account of a physical
altercation between a victim and a shooter following a minor traffic accident.
The scenario stated that the shooter “discharged a semi-automatic pistol several
times, fatally wounding [the victim]” and that “a police investigation determined
that [the victim] was unarmed.” The scenario also included conflicting witness
reports designed to resemble some of the ambiguity seen in the Trayvon Martin
and Michael Brown cases (see the Appendix for the full prompt). Victim and
shooter race were manipulated by using racially stereotypical names (e.g., Darnell
Jackson as a stereotypically Black name and Neil Schwartz as a stereotypically
White name) and their explicitly stated racial group membership. To isolate the role
victim portrayals play, no images were shown since past work has demonstrated
that skin tone can significantly impact perceiver’s emotional discomfort and the
memorability of both perpetrators and victims (Dixon & Maddox, 2005). This
scenario was pretested by 14 research assistants (9 female; 8 White) who were
blind to study hypotheses and goals, using a 5-point scale (1 = not at all, 5 = very
much so) assessing: believability (M = 3.57, SD = .94), realistic qualities (M =
4.07, SD = .83), and similarity to the Trayvon Martin (M = 3.79, SD = .80) and
Michael Brown (M = 3.14, SD = 1.01) cases. One sample t-tests showed that
these scenarios were above chance in their believability, realistic qualities, and
their similarity to both cases (all ts > 2.19, all ps < .05, all ds > .59).

Victim information. Two short biographies adapted from previous research
(Blair, Judd, Sadler, & Jenkins, 2002) were developed and contained either neg-
ative stereotypes or positive counterstereotypes of Blacks. To explore the role
that the application of negative, Black male stereotypes has on shooting victims
regardless of racial background, these biographies were used to manipulate the
victim information for both White and Black victims (see the Appendix for full
biographies). The same sample of research assistants listed above also pretested
these biographies using the same 5-point scale (1 = not at all, 5 = very much so)
assessing: levels of African American/Black stereotypicality, negative and posi-
tive valence, believability, and the realistic nature of the biography. The negative,
Black male stereotypic victim biography description was rated as significantly
more stereotypical of African Americans/Blacks (M = 4.21, SD = .70) than the
positive, Black male counterstereotypic victim information description (M = 1.57,
SD = .65), t (13) = 9.14, p < .001, d = 2.44. Likewise, the negative, Black stereo-
typic victim biography was rated as significantly more negative (M = 4.36, SD =
.63) and less positive (M = 1.50, SD = .52) than the positive, Black counter-
stereotypic victim biography (Mneg = 1.29, SDneg = .47; Mpos = 4.57, SDpos =
.65), tneg (13) = 12.65, pneg < .001, dneg = 5.52; tpos (13) = 15.74, ppos, < .001,

794 Dukes and Gaither

dpos = 5.22). There were no differences in perceived realistic qualities or believ-
ability (all ts < 1.61, all ps > .13).

Dependent Measures

Manipulation check. In line with the goals of this study, participants that
either did not accurately recall that the victim did not have a weapon and/or the
races of the victim and shooter were excluded from analyses (n = 22).

Incident assessment. Using a 7-point scale (1 = strongly disagree, 7 =
strongly agree), participants assessed attributions of fault (e.g., “The vic-
tim/shooter is at fault in this incident”) and their degree of sympathy and empathy
with the victim and shooter (e.g., “I can sympathize with the victim/shooter,” “I
can understand why the victim/shooter behaved the way he did,” “I would behave
in a manner similar to the victim/shooter if placed in this situation”). Participants
were also asked to provide percentage levels of blame on a sliding scale for both
the victim and the shooter on one inclusive scale (i.e., no more than 100% of
blame in the incident could be attributed across the victim and shooter).

Indictment/sentencing recommendations. Participants were told: “The in-
cident you read about previously is now being considered as a criminal case. As a
juror, you are able to provide sentencing recommendations for the shooter.” Par-
ticipants were provided with definitions for first-degree murder, second-degree
murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and justifiable homi-
cide adapted from FindLaw.com to use while providing an indictment/sentencing
recommendation for the shooter. Using a 7-point scale (1 = strongly disagree, 7 =
strongly agree), participants assessed each of the previously mentioned sentencing
options (e.g., “The shooter should be charged with first-degree murder”).

Individual differences measures. To control for levels of racial prejudice
that could bias responses to the incident, participants completed the eight-item
Symbolic Racism Scale (Sears & Henry, 2003). Participant ratings were averaged
on this scale to form a composite (α = .89). Additionally, participants reported their
familiarity with and attitudes regarding the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown
cases (e.g., “I am very familiar with the _____ case”; “I think that the decision
in the _____ case was fair”). Finally, participants provided basic demographic
information (i.e., gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, and profession) and were
debriefed.

Victim Blaming and Race 795

Results and Discussion

First, potential differences based on participant race/ethnicity (White/non-
White due to sample size) as well as participants’ gender and their familiarity
with and attitudes toward the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases were
explored. No meaningful statistically significant differences were found on these
factors, so analyses have been collapsed across these variables (all ps > .33).
However, differences did emerge regarding participants’ level of racial prejudice
based on their responses to the Symbolic Racism Scale.1 Consequently, racial
prejudice was included as a covariate in all analyses. Therefore, a series of 2
(Victim Information: Negative or Positive) × 2 (Victim Race: Black or White)
× 2 (Shooter Race: Black or White) between-subjects Analysis of Covariance
(ANCOVAs) controlling for racial prejudice were conducted. Only findings
related to the primary hypothesis regarding victim information and statistically
significant interactions are discussed below.

Attributions of Fault and Blame

Results revealed a main effect of victim information such that the victim
was viewed as significantly more at fault (Mneg = 3.55, SDneg = 1.38; Mpos =
2.53, SDpos = 1.44; F(1, 444) = 57.61, p < .001, ηp2 = .12) and significantly
more to blame (Mneg = 33.54, SDneg = 20.26; Mpos = 19.65, SDpos = 21.10;
F(1, 444) = 49.35, p < .001, ηp2 = .10) after participants read negative, Black
stereotypic information about the victim compared to after reading positive, Black
counterstereotypic information. Relatedly, the shooter was also viewed less at
fault (Mneg = 5.35, SDneg = 1.15; Mpos = 5.85, SDpos = 1.21; F(1, 444) = 13.87,
p < .001, ηp

2 = .03) and less to blame (Mneg = 66.46, SDneg = 20.26; Mpos =
80.35, SDpos = 21.10; F(1, 444) = 49.35, p < .001, ηp2 = .10) after participants
read negative, Black stereotypic information about the victim compared to reading
positive, Black counterstereotypic information. There was also a main effect of
victim race such that White victims (M = 3.22, SD = 1.45) were viewed as
significantly more at fault than Black victims (M = 2.92, SD = 1.53; F(1, 444) =
4.97, p = .03, ηp2 = .01; see Figure 1).

A series of interactions also emerged reflecting a pattern of victim in-
formation continuing to influence attributions of fault and blame. A marginal

1 Racial/ethnic group and gender differences were observed in racial prejudice levels (Frace
(4, 447) = 4.75, p < .001, ηp 2 = .04; tgender (449) = 2.12, p = .04, d = .20). White (M = 24.45,
SD = 9.91) and Asian participants (M = 25.90, SD = 8.07) were higher in Symbolic Racism than
Black (M =18.45, SD = 8.63), Latino (M =20.22, SD = 8.54), and multiracial participants (M =
20.36, SD = 8.13). Male participants (M = 24.73, SD = 9.26) were higher in Symbolic Racism than
female participants (M = 22.81, SD = 10.04).

796 Dukes and Gaither

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

ShooterVictim

Negative-Stereotypic Information
Positive-Counterstereotypic Information

***

***

P
ar

tic
ip

an
t R

at
in

gs

Fig. 1. Attributions of fault for the victim and shooter as a function of victim information (*p < .05,
**p < .01, ***p < .001). Error bars represent ± 1 SE.

Victim Information × Shooter Race interaction on shooter fault (F(1, 444) = 2.97,
p = .09, ηp2 = .01) revealed the Black shooter being viewed as marginally more at
fault (M = 5.98, SD = 1.17) than the White shooter (M = 5.71, SD = 1.24) when
positive, Black counterstereotypic victim information was presented, t(215) =
1.66, p = .10, d = .22. No differences in fault were observed when participants
read negative, Black stereotypic victim information (MBlack = 5.35, SDBlack =
1.15; MWhite = 5.45, SDWhite = 1.28, t(234) = .60, p = .55). A significant Victim
Information × Shooter Race interaction on victim blame (F(1, 444) = 4.42, p =
.04, ηp

2 = .10) emerged with positively, Black counterstereotyped victims being
perceived as less to blame when there was a Black shooter (M = 16.55, SD =
18.88) than when there was a White shooter (M = 22.85, SD = 22.81, t(215) =
2.22, p = .03, d = .46). There was no difference when participants read negative,
Black stereotypic victim information (MBlack = 32.38, SDBlack = 19.13; MWhite =
34.64, SDWhite = 21.44), t(234) = .66, p = .51.

In sum, these results suggest that when negative, Black racially stereotypic
information is provided about the victim, the victim (regardless of race) is viewed
as being more at fault and more to blame during a shooting incident. Addition-
ally, these findings suggest that when positive, Black counterstereotypic victim
information is provided, Black shooters may be viewed as more at fault and more
to blame than White shooters, which is in line with Black criminality stereo-
types (e.g., Chiricos & Eschholz, 2002; Entman, 1992). We also show that White
victims are perceived as more at fault than Black victims. Although this finding
is somewhat surprising, it is consistent with some studies on victim blaming in
rape cases that suggest that more socially respectable victims are seen as more

Victim Blaming and Race 797

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

ShooterVictimShooterVictimShooterVictim

Negative-Stereotypic Information
Positive-Counterstereotypic Information

Sympathy Empathy Behave Similarly

***

***

***

***

***

^ P
ar

tic
ip

an
t R

at
in

gs

Fig. 2. Levels of sympathy, empathy, and how similarly one would behave for the victim and shooter
as a function of victim information. (ˆp = .11, *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001). Error bars represent
± 1 SE.

at fault for placing themselves in dangerous situations (Jones & Aronson, 1973).
Additionally, social desirability concerns may be at play since previous research
shows that Whites in particular may want to display more egalitarian approaches
to race and stereotyping (e.g., McConahay, 1986; O’Brien et al., 2010). Therefore,
additional work is needed to explore these possibilities.

Sympathy and Empathy with the Victim

Analyses revealed a main effect of victim information on participants’ sym-
pathy for the victim (F(1, 444) = 111.41, p < .001, ηp2 = .20), on participants’
understanding of the victim’s behavior, F(1, 444) = 14.43, p < .001, ηp2 = .03,
and on participants’ agreement that they would behave in a manner similar to
the victim if placed in the same situation (F(1, 444) = 53.81, p < .001, ηp2
= .11). Participants expressed less sympathy for the victim (M = 4.26, SD =
1.52), less understanding of the victim’s behavior (M = 3.89, SD = 1.51), and
reported wanting to behave less in a manner similar to the victim (M = 2.29, SD =
1.65) after reading negative, Black stereotypic information compared to reading
positive, Black counterstereotypic information about the victim (Msympathy = 5.65,
SDsympathy = 1.23; Munderstand = 4.47, SDunderstand = 1.56; Mbehave = 3.84, SDbehave =
1.70; see Figure 2).

A Victim Race × Shooter Race interaction also emerged on behaving
similarly to the victim, F(1, 444) = 5.54, p = .02, ηp2 = .01. Participants
identified more with behaving similarly as a White victim when there was a Black

798 Dukes and Gaither

shooter (M = 3.55, SD = 1.74) compared to when there was a White shooter
(M = 3.07, SD = 1.76), t(214) = −2.00, p = .05, d = .27. The same pattern did
not emerge with a Black victim (MBlack = 3.00, SDBlack = 1.84; MWhite = 3.32,
SDWhite = 1.71, t(235) = 1.39, p = .18).

In sum, sympathy and empathy for the victim were significantly impacted
by whether positive, Black counterstereotypic versus negative, Black stereotypic
information was presented. Although not conclusive, these data also suggest that
the incidences with a White victim and Black shooter may have stronger effects.

Sympathy and Empathy with the Shooter

Analyses also revealed main effects of victim information on participants’
sympathy for and empathy with the shooter such that participants expressed more
sympathy with the shooter after reading negative, Black stereotypic information
(M = 3.22, SD = 1.66) than positive, Black counterstereotypic information (M =
2.49, SD = 1.60) (F(1, 444) = 21.97, p < .001, ηp2 = .05). Participants reported
understanding the shooter’s behavior to a greater degree (Mneg = 3.16, SDneg =
1.65; Mpos = 2.46, SDpos = 1.54) (F(1, 444) = 21.86, p < .001, ηp2 = .05) and
wanting to behave in a manner similar to the shooter marginally more after reading
negative, Black stereotypic victim information (Mneg = 2.26, SDneg = 1.47; Mpos =
2.01, SDpos = 1.40) (F(1, 444) = 2.54, p = .11, ηp2 = .006; see Figure 2).

Victim information also interacted with other factors in its influence on em-
pathy for the shooter. There was a marginal Victim Information × Shooter Race
interaction regarding wanting to behave in a manner similar to the shooter, F(1,
444) = 3.15, p = .08, ηp2 = .007. Participants were more likely to report wanting
to behave similarly to the White shooter (M = 2.21, SD = 1.51) compared to the
Black shooter (M = 1.82, SD = 1.26) after reading positive, Black counterstereo-
typic victim information, t(215) = 2.06, p = .04, d = .28. There was no difference
after reading negative, Black stereotypic victim information regarding behaving
similarly to the shooter (MBlack = 2.23, SDBlack = 1.50; MWhite = 2.29, SDWhite =
1.74), t(234) = −.30, p = .76.

Victim and shooter race also influenced participants’ sympathy and empathy
with the shooter. There was a marginal Victim Race × Shooter Race interaction
on sympathy with the shooter, F(1, 444) = 3.66, p = .06, ηp2 = .01. Participants
expressed more sympathy with the White shooter (M = 3.01, SD = 1.70) compared
to the Black shooter (M = 2.56, SD = 1.63) with a Black victim, t(235) = 2.08,
p = .04, d = .26; no differences emerged when there was a White victim (MBlack =
3.03, SDBlack = 1.61; MWhite = 2.88, SDWhite = 1.70), t(214) = −.69, p = .49.

A marginal main effect revealed that the shooter’s behavior was also under-
stood to a greater degree when there was a White victim (M = 2.97, SD = 1.64)
compared to a Black victim (M = 2.69, SD = 1.62), F(1, 444) = 3.51, p = .06, ηp 2 =
.01. A marginal main effect of shooter race also surfaced such that the behavior

Victim Blaming and Race 799

of a White shooter (M = 2.96, SD = 1.70) was understood to a greater degree
than that of a Black shooter (M = 2.69, SD = 1.56), F(1, 444) = 3.81, p = .05,
ηp

2 = .01. These effects were qualified by a marginal Victim Race × Shooter Race
interaction, F(1, 444) = 3.53, p = .06, ηp2 = .008. Participants understood the
behavior of the White shooter (M = 2.96, SD = 1.67) more than that of the Black
shooter (M = 2.40, SD = 1.52) when there was a Black victim, t(235) = 2.69, p =
.01, d = .35. There was no difference when a White victim was involved (MBlack =
2.97, SDBlack = 1.56; MWhite = 2.96, SDWhite = 1.74), t(214) = −.07, p = .95.

Additionally, there was a marginal Victim Race × Shooter Race interaction
regarding wanting to behave in a manner similar to the shooter, F(1, 444) = 3.13,
p = .08, ηp2 = .01. Participants reported wanting to behave more similarly to the
White shooter (M = 2.29, SD = 1.49) compared to the Black shooter (M = 1.87,
SD = 1.27) when there was a Black victim, t(235) = 2.30, p = .02, d = .30. There
was no difference with a White victim (MBlack = 2.26, SDBlack = 1.48; MWhite =
2.13, SDWhite = 1.52), t(214) = −.61, p = .54.

Overall, sympathy and empathy for the shooter were also significantly influ-
enced when positive information was presented about the victim. However, when
examining the role that shooter and victim race played, participants were more
likely to endorse the shooter’s behavior when the shooter was White compared to
when the shooter was Black. This was particularly true when there was a White
shooter and Black victim. Although our participant sample was primarily White,
this data converge with previous findings, demonstrating that Whites are more
often seen as a true victim compared to Blacks (Bjornstrom et al., 2010; Smiley
& Fakunle, 2016).

Indictment/Sentencing Recommendations for the Shooter

Analyses also revealed a main effect of victim information on participants’
indictment/sentencing recommendations for first-degree murder, second-degree
murder, and justifiable homicide recommendations (see Figure 3). Participants
were more likely to recommend a first-degree murder recommendation after read-
ing positive, Black counterstereotypic victim information (M = 1.84, SD = 1.43)
than when negative, Black stereotypic victim information (M = 1.55, SD = 1.13)
was presented, F(1, 444) = 6.47, p = .01, ηp2 = .01. Similarly, participants were
more likely to make a second-degree murder recommendation after reading pos-
itive, Black counterstereotypic victim information (M = 3.85, SD = 2.39) than
after reading negative, Black stereotypic victim information (M = 2.96, SD =
2.12), F(1, 444) = 17.25, p < .001, ηp2 = .04). Relatedly, participants were more
likely to recommend justifiable homicide when negative, Black stereotypic victim
information (M = 2.94, SD = 1.98) was presented than when positive, Black
counterstereotypic victim information was presented (M = 2.14, SD = 1.62), F(1,
444) = 22.99, p < .001, ηp2 = .05. There was no main effect of victim information

800 Dukes and Gaither

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

First Degree
Murder

Seconde Degree
Murder

Voluntary
Manslaughter

Involuntary
Manslaughter

Justifiable
Homicide

Negative-Stereotypic Information
Positive-Counterstereotypic Information

***

P
ar

tic
ip

an
t R

at
in

gs

***

**

Fig. 3. Indictment recommendations as a function of victim information (*p < .05, **p < .01,
***p < .001). Error bars represent ± 1 SE.

for voluntary manslaughter (Mpos = 4.37, SDpos = 2.91; Mneg = 4.36, SDneg =
2.00, F(1, 444) = .02, p = .90) or involuntary manslaughter (Mpos = 2.42,
SDpos = 1.73; Mneg = 2.59, SDneg = 1.79, F(1, 444) = .83, p = .36).

Analyses also revealed a marginal Victim Information × Shooter Race in-
teraction on second-degree murder recommendations, F(1, 444) = 2.43, p =
.12, ηp

2 = .01. There was a marginal difference regarding the likelihood of the
Black shooter receiving a second-degree murder recommendation relative to the
White shooter when positive, Black countertstereotypic victim information was
presented, t(215) = 1.38, p = .17, d = .18; however, no difference emerged when
negative, Black stereotypic information was presented, t(234) = .82, p = .41.
There was also a Victim Information × Shooter Race interaction on involuntary
manslaughter recommendation, F(1, 444) = 4.43, p = .04, ηp2 = .01. Participants
were marginally more likely to recommend involuntary manslaughter for a Black
shooter than a White shooter after reading negative, Black stereotypic victim in-
formation (t (234) = 1.84, p = .07, d = .24), but there was no difference after
reading positive victim, Black counterstereotypic information, t(215) = 1.11, p =
.27. Finally, there was a marginal Victim Information × Shooter Race interaction
on justifiable homicide recommendations, F(1, 444) = 3.48, p = .06, ηp2 = .01.
Participants were more likely to recommend justifiable homicide for the White
shooter than the Black shooter after reading positive, Black counterstereotypic
victim information (t(215) = 2.74, p = . 01, d = .36), but no difference occurred
after reading negative, Black stereotypic victim information, t(234) = .18, p = .86
(see Table 1 for means).

Finally, victim and shooter race also impacted indictment/sentencing rec-
ommendations. Analyses revealed a Victim Race × Shooter Race interaction on

Victim Blaming and Race 801

Table 1. Indictment Recommendations as a Function of Victim Information, Victim Race, and
Shooter Race

Victim

information Black victim White victim Black Shooter White shooter

First-Degree Murder Negative 1.62 (1.34) 1.47 (.85) 1.55 (1.17) 1.54 (1.09)
Positive 1.83 (1.46) 1.85 (1.40) 1.89 (1.48) 1.79 (1.38)

Second-Degree Murder Negative 2.92 (2.21) 3.01 (2.02) 2.85 (2.10) 3.08 (2.51)
Positive 3.70 (2.36) 4.02 (2.43) 4.07 (2.41)a 3.63 (2.36)a

Voluntary Manslaughter Negative 4.32 (2.05) 4.41 (1.95) 4.28 (1.96) 4.45 (2.04)
Positive 4.56 (2.19) 4.17 (2.19) 4.28 (2.24) 4.47 (2.14)

Involuntary Manslaughter Negative 2.44 (1.71) 2.75 (1.87) 2.80 (1.90)b 2.37 (1.65)b

Positive 2.33 (1.72) 2.51 (1.74) 2.29 (1.67) 2.55 (1.79)
Justifiable Homicide Negative 2.82 (1.96) 3.08 (2.00) 2.97 (1.91) 2.92 (2.05)

Positive 2.14 (1.73) 2.12 (1.50) 1.84 (1.36)c 2.43 (1.81)c

Note. Standard deviations are in parentheses; all values reflect 1–7 ratings. Means with the same super-
scripts indicate significant or marginally significant differences when comparing victim information
conditions.

justifiable homicide recommendations, F (1, 444) = 4.43, p < .04, ηp2 = .02. Par-
ticipants were more likely to recommend justifiable homicide for a White shooter
(M = 2.87, SD = 2.06) than a Black shooter (M = 2.10, SD = 1.58) when there
was a Black victim, t(235) = 3.23, p < .001, d = .42; no difference emerged
when there was a White victim (MWhite = 2.45, SDWhite = 1.80; MBlack = 2.76,
SDBlack = 1.87, t(214) = 1.22, p = .22).

Here, we see a third type of evidence demonstrating that the type of victim
information also shapes criminal proceedings and the level of punishment for the
shooter. In general, positive, Black counterstereotypic victim information resulted
in harsher sentencing outcomes. Additionally, there were also some interactions
between shooter and victim race suggesting that Black shooters are more likely to
get harsher punishments compared to White shooters, particularly when positive,
Black counterstereotypic victim information is provided.

Conclusions and Implications

In sum, these results highlight the powerful impact that the media can have in
not only shaping how the public feels about a shooting victim, but also how blame
is attributed and punishment is recommended for the shooter. When negative,
Black stereotypical information was given about a victim, it significantly colored
those victims as being more at fault for their own deaths compared to when
positive, Black counterstereotypical information was provided regardless of the
victim’s race. Even views of White victims were overshadowed by the application
of negative, Black racial group stereotypes demonstrating how detrimental such

802 Dukes and Gaither

portrayals can be for any victim, let alone for racial/ethnic minorities. Furthermore,
this same negative, Black stereotypic information about a victim also made the
shooter less at fault and to blame which supports past work regarding perceived
social respectability and rape victims (e.g., Grubb & Turner, 2012; Hockett et al.,
2015).

It is important to note that when race was held constant in the shooting
altercation (i.e., White shooter, White victim or Black shooter, Black victim),
the differences regarding levels of perceived fault and blame were not as strong.
This suggests that while victim information clearly impacts perceptions of both
the victim and the shooter, the interracial nature of shooting altercations has a
particularly strong effect on shaping how shooting incidences are viewed and the
levels of blame that are applied. Additionally, the present study did not manipulate
victim and shooter gender or the type of stereotypical information. Previous work
has demonstrated that Black stereotypes are not applied to Black men and Black
women equally (Dukes, 2012; Ghavami & Peplau, 2013). Consequently, additional
work is needed to examine incidents where the race and gender of the parties
involved and specific stereotypes are varied.

Finally, although the current study did not explicitly examine police violence
against racial and ethnic minorities, these data still provide some insight into how
victims may be viewed in light of the type of background information released
about them within police interactions. However, the relative social status and
perceived authority police officers have may actually exacerbate the impact of
negative victim information. At the same time, law enforcement has also had
negative stereotypes painted about them (National Law Enforcement Officers
Memorial Fund, 2016). Therefore, future research should investigate the effects
of media portrayals regarding law enforcement. Additionally, the application of
other stereotypes, the role that photos, videos, and imagery may play in these
incidents, and how positive versus negative representations shape attitudes long
term are also essential future directions.

We caution readers in concluding that all victims should be portrayed pos-
itively since in some cases, shooters are not at fault and victims really are to
blame. However, these data suggest that if the media were to at least balance their
descriptions of racial and ethnic minority victims with nonstereotypical details or
positive traits and attributes, it could lead to fairer trials (e.g., Blair, Ma, & Lenton,
2001; Rudman, Ashmore, & Gary, 2001). Additionally, although the present study
only manipulated victim information, these data also imply that positive versus
negative information about a shooter could significantly shape perceptions of the
shooter as well.

Consequently, we propose that new guidelines and social policies should be
created to limit the types of information that can be released about cases, espe-
cially in the early stages of investigation. These guidelines could be an extension
to existing ones like the Society of Professional Journalist Code of Ethics that

Victim Blaming and Race 803

states that journalist should “avoid stereotyping,” “balance the public’s need for
information again potential harm,” “show compassion for those who may be af-
fected by new coverage,” and “expose unethical conduct in journalism (Society
of Professional Journalists, 2014).”

Relatedly, new guidelines should also push reporters to avoid vague, biased,
or inflammatory terminology when describing the incident to allow the public to
form an opinion (McBride, 2013; Smiley & Fakunle, 2016). Only information
pertinent to the actual incident itself should be released. Guidelines should also
clearly state not to include superfluous details such as what the victim was wearing,
where they were, or details about the victim’s social life and their past that are
irrelevant to the incident itself (Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls and
Young Women, 2012; Global Protection Center, 2013). New training protocols
regarding the neutrality of reporting could also aid in curtailing stereotypes often
introduced during investigations.

Additionally, other work has shown that pretrial exposure to both television
and other forms of media can significantly sway jury member attitudes regarding
legal policies and verdict endorsements (e.g., Daftary-Kapur, Dumas, & Penrod,
2010; Greene, 1990; Ogloff & Vidmar, 1994; Studebaker & Penrod, 1997). Given
the media’s potential to influence criminal proceedings (pretrial evidence), a closer
look at the interface between media and the criminal justice system may be
necessary. Take, for instance, California’s Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008:
Marsy’s Law that mandates that victims “be treated with fairness and respect for
his or her privacy and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment, and
abuse, throughout the criminal or juvenile justice process.” How might the media
be held accountable for unethical reporting that influences criminal proceedings?

These recommendations are not a call for limitations on freedom of the press
or freedom of speech. To the contrary, we assert that balanced press and balanced
speech is the fairest approach for all individuals involved. Due to First Amendment
rights, we acknowledge that policies such as these likely cannot be implemented
fully. Rather a system such as “naming and shaming” that describes the practice of
either an internal or external group publicizing that an organization has behaved
in an unacceptable way may be an easier way to increase accountability and fair
reporting. This approach is often employed in international law and corporate
actions such as environmental emissions (e.g., Kelley, 2017; Konar & Cohen,
1997) and has shown promise to positively shape behavior and change within
those organizations. It would be essential for these new standards to be shared
widely and for media outlets to make a public pledge to uphold the new standards.
News sources could then take it upon themselves to monitor the behavior of
each other or external groups could spark discussions on fair reporting to aid
in eradicating media victim blaming. Further, as consumers of mass media, the
general public also has a tremendous power to hold the media accountable for
their actions by calling attention to biased reporting using personal social media.

804 Dukes and Gaither

In sum, past research highlights that Blacks are more likely to be shown as
criminals than victims, are more likely to be pictured being physically restrained
more often by law officials, and are displayed in the media more frequently for
violent crimes (e.g., Chiricos & Eschholz, 2002; Entman, 1992). It is clear that
these biased media portrayals are adding to the equation of wrongfully “blamed”
individuals in our society. Knowing that the media can positively sway the public’s
opinion regarding how much aid is needed for minority victims of natural disas-
ters such as after Hurricane Katrina (Davis & French, 2008), the media should
also have the power to positively sway the perceptions of racial/ethnic minority
victims across other domains. We argue that a cultural shift toward encouraging
media outlets to ensure that their portrayals of racial and ethnic minority vic-
tims are balanced, could lead to less biased responses from individuals across
society—those in the public, those serving on juries, and even those in police
forces—leading to hopefully more balanced treatment of cases violence against
racial/ethnic minorities, perpetrated by civilians and law enforcement alike, and
equitable justice.

Appendix

Incident Scenario

On the night of Monday March 24, 2014, at approximately 8:15 pm [victim],
a 20-year-old [victim’s race] male and [shooter] a 24-year-old [shooter’s race]
male were involved in a minor traffic accident at the intersection of Wesley St. and
Templeton Ave. Both [victim] and [shooter] pulled into the parking lot of a nearby
gas station to examine damage to their cars and exchange insurance information.
While examining the damage, a heated exchange began between the two. This
exchange escalated into a physical altercation during which [shooter] discharged
a semiautomatic pistol several times, fatally wounding [victim]. [victim] was
pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses to the altercation provided varying accounts of the physical alterca-
tion, some stating that [victim] was on top of [shooter], punching him repeatedly,
when the shooting occurred. Others stated that [shooter] was dominant in the
altercation and that [victim] did nothing to prompt [shooter]. [shooter] stated that
he fired his weapon in self-defense. [shooter] believed [victim] had a weapon and
feared for his life. The police investigation determined that [victim] was unarmed.

Victim Information

Negative, Stereotypic Biography. According to several news sources, [vic-
tim], a 20-year-old [victim’s race] male, was raised by his grandmother in a housing
project. He did not know his father and his mother was in and out of jail for dealing

Victim Blaming and Race 805

drugs. The family was on and off of welfare throughout his childhood. A high-
school dropout, [victim] had been in trouble with the law several times including
violations drug and weapons possession. He was recently arrested for robbery. For
this latest offense, [victim] spent 3 months in the state prison. Since his release,
he was supposed to meet with his probation officer every Tuesday at 9 am, but
often did not show up. In a court session, [victim] told a judge that his job caused
him to miss the meetings. The judge later learned that he was fired from his job
because of a fight with another employee. Friends described him as a generally
good guy but noted his tendency to be very moody and his quick temper. When
things went wrong, as they frequently did, he often became aggressive and even
violent. The evening of his death, [victim] was on his way from playing basketball
at a neighborhood court.

Positive, Counterstereotypic Biography. According to several news
sources, [victim name], 20-year-old [victim race’s] male, grew up in a middle-
class suburb. His father is an investment banker and his mother teaches English
at a liberal arts college. The family has a long tradition in the community of sup-
porting the arts, such as the theater and opera. An honors student in high school,
[victim name], was accepted to a number of universities. He decided to attend a
very prestigious university and continued to excel in college as a biology major.
He planned to go on to medical school and had been invited to do an internship
at a local hospital this summer. [victim name]’s friends described him as gen-
erally good guy noting his calm and kind nature. He was involved in a number
of extracurricular activities in addition to keeping up with his classes, including
serving as the president of the biology club and a regular contributor to the campus
newspaper. The evening of his death, [victim name] was on his way to a recep-
tion following the performance of a visiting string quartet from London and was
planning to write an article for his campus newspaper about the event.

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KRISTIN NICOLE DUKES is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Simmons
College. She earned her PhD and MS in Social Psychology from Tufts University
and her BA in Psychology from Rice University. Her research focuses the social
cognitive aspects of stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, and social justice.

SARAH E. GAITHER is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology
& Neuroscience at Duke University and a faculty affiliate at the Samuel DuBois
Cook Center on Social Equity. Previously, she was a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar
in the Psychology Department and a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Race,
Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago after earning her PhD and MS
in Social Psychology from Tufts University and her BA in Social Welfare from
UC Berkeley. Her research focuses broadly on how diversity and social identities
motivate our social perceptions and behaviors across the lifespan.

Copyright of Journal of Social Issues is the property of Wiley-Blackwell and its content may
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express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for
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