Sunday, June 16, 2013

american political science: social/cultural problems may still be politically and economically intractable


nih | The gap between Whites and Blacks in levels of violence has animated a prolonged and controversial debate in public health and the social sciences. Our study reveals that over 60% of this gap is explained by immigration status, marriage, length of residence, verbal/reading ability, impulsivity, and neighborhood context. If we focus on odds ratios rather than raw coefficients, 70% of the gap is explained. Of all factors, neighborhood context was the most important source of the gap reduction and constitutional differences the least important.

We acknowledge the harsh and often justified criticism that tests of intelligence have endured, but we would emphasize 2 facts from our findings. First, measured verbal/reading ability, along with impulsivity/hyperactivity, predicted violence, in keeping with a long line of prior research. Second, however, neither factor accounted for much in the way of racial or ethnic disparities in violence. Whatever the ultimate validity of the constitutional difference argument, the main conclusion is that its efficacy as an explainer of race and violence is weak.

Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that Blacks are segregated by neighborhood and thus differentially exposed to key risk and protective factors, an essential ingredient to understanding the Black–White disparity in violence. The race-related neighborhood features predicting violence are percentage professional/managerial workers, moral/legal cynicism, and the concentration of immigration. We found no systematic evidence that neighborhood- or individual-level predictors of violence interacted with race/ ethnicity. The relationships we observed thus appeared to be generally robust across racial/ ethnic groups. We also found no significant racial or ethnic disparities in trajectories of change in violence.
Similar to the arguments made by William Julius Wilson in The Truly Disadvantaged,these results imply that generic interventions to improve neighborhood conditions may reduce the racial gap in violence. Policies such as housing vouchers to aid the poor in securing residence in middle-class neighborhoods may achieve the most effective results in bringing down the long-standing racial disparities in violence. Policies to increase home ownership and hence stability of residence may also reduce disparities (see model 3, Table 2 [triangle]).

Family social conditions matter as well. Our data show that parents being married, but not family configuration per se, is a salient factor predicting both the lower probability of violence and a significant reduction in the Black–White gap in violence. The tendency in past debates on Black families has been either to pathologize female-headed households as a singular risk factor or to emphasize the presence of extended kin as a protective factor. Yet neither factor predicts violence in our data. Rather, being reared in married-parent households is the distinguishing factor for children, supporting recent work on the social influence of marriage and calls for renewed attention to the labor-market contexts that support stable marriages among the poor.

Although the original gap in violence between Whites and Latinos was smaller than that between Whites and Blacks, our analysis nonetheless explained the entire gap in violence between Whites and Latino ethnic groups. The lower rate of violence among Mexican Americans compared with Whites was explained by a combination of married parents, living in a neighborhood with a high concentration of immigrants, and individual immigrant status. The contextual effect of concentrated immigration was robust, holding up even after a host of factors, including the immigrant status of the person, were taken into account.

The limitations of our study raise issues for future research. Perhaps most important is the need to replicate the results in cities other than Chicago. The mechanisms explaining the apparent benefits to those living in areas of concentrated immigration need to be further addressed, and we look to future research to examine Black–White differences in rates of violence that remain unexplained. As with any nonexperimental research, it is also possible we left out key risk factors correlated with race or ethnicity. Still, to overturn our results any such factors would have to be correlated with neighborhood characteristics and uncorrelated with the dozen-plus individual and family background measures, an unlikely scenario. Even controlling for the criminality of parents did not diminish the effects of neighborhood characteristics. Finally, it is possible that family characteristics associated with violence, such as marital status, were themselves affected by neighborhood residence. If so, our analysis would mostly likely have underestimated the association between neighborhood conditions and violence.

We conclude that the large racial/ethnic disparities in violence found in American cities are not immutable. Indeed, they are largely social in nature and therefore amenable to change.

12 comments:

umbrarchist said...

Where is there any study of Black mothers beating on their kids and the psychological effects? My mother used an electric cord on me. One of my sisters told me she used a mop handle on my brother. When I was at a friend's house I watched his mother use a belt on him while his father sat in the kitchen reading a newspaper.


We talk about dealing with problems but then certain aspects never gets mentioned. Like the violence is all the fault of the men. All men were babies and little boys at one time.


The hand that rocks the cradle...

CNu said...

sssshhhhh....., hush now!



don't go talking out of class in the public sphere....,

CNu said...

Do you remember the Atlanta mall security guard who tased a mouthy troglodyte whose large brood of children don't even have a prayer of succeeding in the world? http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2013/02/do-what-youre-supposed-to-do-or-you-get.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMCfMh9hEWA

The living, breathing, loud-talking embodiment of social/cultural problems of an intractable nature. Anyone who has had to deal with any of that mess first hand knows exactly whereof I speak and harbors no utopian, cornucopian delusions about trying to make that better.

Joyce M said...

New Orleans tore down their public housing as our mayor with kind hearted self, bought them all here and put them first in line for housing assistance. The murder rate went up, including the New Orleans serial killer. This is not just poor women falling for this foolishness. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_n9H2zAWwU

Joyce M said...

As a security guard, the job only requires that you keep watch over the owner's property. Incidents of this sort are best handled by the police.

CNu said...

Walker Atlanta Ranger's 15 minutes of fame didn't last even that long http://clatl.com/atlanta/darien-long-is-gone-but-not-forgotten-at-metro-mall/Content?oid=7935813&showFullText=true - but right on topic the prophylactic effect of certain elements on economic development is at the heart of his story, as well.

umbrarchist said...

Huh?

CNu said...

My bad..., http://www.lesterspence.com/2013/06/13/uncivil-youth-race-racism-and-the-non-profit-philanthropic-sector/#comment-932352365

Joyce M said...

Education is first and foremost the job of the parents. My dad taught me how to read, write and do basic math before I entered kindergarten. My grandmother bought me my first slide rule and calculator. I started with my daughter as a baby with flash cards. Over the years, I have acquired for her library every important book I could find and I am still shopping at Barnes and Noble several times a month. It took me two years to find a new version of "Philosophiae Naturalis Principa Mathematica" by Issac Newton. The book cost me $40, but it is an important tool for her study of advanced mathematics. She also has a collection of autobiographies of historical black figures. My daughter has used her books and the College Level Examination Program to collect credit for college courses for $100 for each test. She can CLEP her way to 90 credits, then take the last 30 though the university--done, finished. Parents can buy used books at Amazon.com sometimes for little more than the cost of shipping. If a parent decides to buy the Xbox and pay top dollar for the assorted games, then add sports, poor diet, irregular sleeping hours, baby mamma drama and low expectations....can they really blame the teachers? One day out of curiosity, I wanted to know what my daughter was learning about history. I printed photographs of John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, Bill Clinton, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Louis Armstrong and Desi Arnaz. Her response when shown the photos and asked if she recognized the people was startling. She immediately recognized Louis Armstrong and Desi Arnaz. She could only tell me that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Her response to a photo of Bill Clinton was to say, "I did not have sex with that woman." She did not recognize Dwight Eisenhower, Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks. We have since corrected this deficiency.

Tom said...

The level of focus on sports where I live (rural northeast) is interfering seriously with education. I hear it's even worse in other regions.
Discussion goes nowhere because the parents' fantasies are the problem, but the next generation around here will be noticeably less employable than their parents. And it's needless, we have all the advantages needed to succeed.

Joyce M said...

My daughter has talents as an artist, comedian and musician. But, as history has shown, those with marketable talents will get ripped off by those with an education in business, law or accounting. I heard an interview with an sports agent who bragged about being richer than his most highly paid client because he was getting a third of all his clients salaries. After the agents, lawyers, accountants, butlers and tax authorities get their cut--it's no wonder a lot of athletes later end up bankrupt. I know someone who is an actress. Her agent gets her pay and residual checks first. The agent takes her cut, then mails the actress what is left along with copies of the original checks.

CNu said...

Hmm.., instead of an indictment of "sports as a distraction/diversion away from the 19th century education model" - and I have no doubt that it is - more attention needs to be given to radical redesign of that education model.

Flipped classrooms are a long overdue and inevitable change in the modus operandi of instruction. And "teachers" will be the largest institutional impediment to getting from here (19th century) to there (21st century).