Education and the Interface between Racial Perceptions and Criminal Justice Attitudes



Recent work has implicated negative attitudes toward blacks in support for toughened criminal-justice measures. This suggests that the issue of crime may be implicitly “racialized,” despite a lack of overt racial content. The present study examines the hypothesis that education may weaken the relationship between negative racial perceptions and crime-related policy attitudes. In contrast to traditional views about the role of education in the domain of race-related attitudes, the results of analyses using several different general-population samples suggest that the effects of education are somewhat paradoxical: they reduce the intensity of negative racial perceptions, while bolstering the relationship between these perceptions and criminal justice attitudes.