American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 238–252

Public Support for Punishment and Progressive Criminal Justice Policy Preferences: The Role of Symbolic Racism and Negative Racial Stereotype


DOI: 10.1007/s12103-008-9056-9

Cite this article as:
Buckler, K., Wilson, S. & Salinas, P.R. Am J Crim Just (2009) 34: 238. doi:10.1007/s12103-008-9056-9


Prior studies have found that symbolic racism and negative African-American stereotypes are linked to public preferences for punitive criminal justice policy. But prior studies have mostly focused attention on White respondents and have not adequately examined whether the effects of symbolic racism and negative African American stereotypes are the same across race and ethnicity. This study used the 2000 American National Election Study data to fill this gap in the empirical literature. The study found that the effects of symbolic racism were broad and generally impact Whites, African-Americans, and members of other races/ethnicities the same. The effects of negative African-American stereotype were more limited. This variable predicted punishment policy preference for members of other races/ethnicities and there were significant differences in how stereotypes impacted policy preferences across race and ethnicity. Implications for theory are discussed.


Symbolic racismStereotypesResource competitionInternalized racismPublic opinionCrime policy

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Buckler
    • 1
    • 2
  • Steve Wilson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Patti Ross Salinas
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Texas at BrownsvilleBrownsvilleUSA
  2. 2.Texas Southmost CollegeBrownsvilleUSA