ADVANTAGES

Racial prejudice in the courtroom is examined through a historical sketch of racism in the legal system, a review of psychological research on White juror bias, and a study investigating White mock jurors' judgments of a fictional trial summary. The central hypothesis is that salient racial issues at trial activate the normative racial attitudes held by White jurors. In previous eras, these racial norms encouraged overtly anti-Black prejudice. But in modern America, many Whites embrace an egalitarian value system and try to behave in an appropriately nonprejudiced manner when race is salient. Therefore, contrary to the intuition of many scholars and researchers, contemporary White jurors are more likely to demonstrate racial bias against a Black defendant in interracial trials without blatantly racial issues. Empirical data suggest that this pattern of bias is not limited to one type of crime or one type of racial issue. Practical implications and future research directions are considered.

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