Unconscious biases toward African Americans still produce major inequities in the criminal justice system. Using statistical analyses, Jennifer Eberhardt has documented how racially coded features, such as a defendant’s skin color and hair texture, influence jurors’ decisions and the sentences that judges hand down. For example, she’s shown that jurors are more likely to recommend the death penalty for defendants whose features are stereotypically “black.” And she’s demonstrated that police officers are more likely to mistakenly identify black faces as criminal compared to white faces. In 2014, Eberhardt’s worked earned her the prestigious “genius” fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation.
August 12, 2015