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Devalued Lives and Racial Stereotypes Ideological Barriers to the Prevention of Family Violence Among Blacks

NCJ Number
D F Hawkins
Date Published
31 pages
Efforts to intervene in domestic violence among blacks must confront three ideologically based barriers: the noninterventionist sentiments historically associated with family violence, the devaluation of black life, and stereotypic views on the normality of violence among blacks.
This devaluation of the black victim and the perceived normality of violence are evidenced both in the social science research literature and the attitudes of the public. Further, these racist perceptions are shared by law enforcement officials, social service practitioners, and others. Thus, black victims may be accorded unequal treatment by police and the courts, and practitioners may view intervention efforts as futile. These responses, in turn, reinforce stereotypes and may contribute to additional violence among blacks. Unless these ideological constraints are confronted and challenged, official intervention in domestic violence will continue to result in the racial inequalities found in the handling of nonfamily criminal violence. 10 notes and 27 references.