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Colorism and Criminality: The Effects of Skin Tone and Crime Type on Judgements of Guilt

Description: Previous research has provided evidence that darker-skinned Black individuals are usually associated with more negative stereotypes, and they often receive harsher sentences for committing a crime compared to their lighter-skinned Black and White counterparts. While this prior work suggests the presence of a skin tone bias within the criminal justice system, few experimental studies have accounted for the type of crime committed. In a 2 (skin tone: light-skinned Black, dark-skinned Black, or White skin) x 2 (crime committed: white-collar or blue-collar) design, the present study examined whether the skin tone of the perpetrator and type of crime committed influenced judgements of guilt and beliefs about the perpetrator's character. The results showed that a skin tone bias was present only when the perpetrator committed a blue-collar crime. Furthermore, participants believed that the light-skinned Black perpetrator appeared less dangerous, threatening, and violent, compared to the dark-skinned Black and White perpetrators. This study demonstrates how the effects of an interracial bias may partly depend on the type of crime committed.

Suggested Citation:
Barideaux, K.Jr, Crossby, A., Crosby, D. (2022). Colorism and Criminality: The Effects of Skin Tone and Crime Type on Judgements of Guilt [Electronic Version]. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 16(2), 181-199.

Keywords: skin tone bias, colorism, white-collar crime, blue-collar crime, stereotypes

Date: Feb 07, 2022 | File Size: 519.52 Kb | Downloads: 566

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