Ethnic identity and attitudes toward the police among African American juvenile offenders

Joanna M. Lee, Laurence Steinberg, Alex R. Piquero

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57 Citations (Scopus)


Although there is a knowledge base regarding theoretical and empirical research on attitudes toward the police, this line of research has not fully examined the sources of such attitudes, and in particular the extent to which attitudes toward the police are influenced by ethnic identity. The present study examined the role of ethnic identity in African American adolescent offenders' perceptions of general police discrimination, direct police contact, procedural justice, and police legitimacy. Analyses showed that youth with a stronger sense of ethnic identity perceived more police discrimination but reported more positive beliefs about police legitimacy. The findings underscore the importance of considering processes that may make legal socialization experiences more salient for adolescents, and demonstrate the complex role that ethnic identity plays in relation to discrimination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-789
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes

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