Do Racial Descriptors Confuse Viewers? The Utility of Suspect Race for Identification in Crime Stoppers and Similar Broadcast Descriptions

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dc.contributor.author Loggins, Ginger Miller
dc.date.accessioned 2010-12-13T22:43:47Z
dc.date.available 2010-12-13T22:43:47Z
dc.date.issued 2010-12-13
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2097/6912
dc.description.abstract Local news programs across the country regularly broadcast descriptions of criminal suspects received from law enforcement agencies. For example: “Police describe the suspect as a White male in his mid-forties, about 230 pounds and 6 foot 2 inches tall. He had a moustache and goatee and wore a red t-shirt and jeans.” Do such descriptions really help viewers envision or recognize the correct suspect? This study compares the effectiveness of racially explicit descriptions, those that state a suspect's race, to racially implicit descriptions, those that describe a suspect's skin tone. Results indicate that viewers were more likely to correctly identify a tanned White man or a light-skinned Black man as the suspect when the description detailed the suspect's skin tone rather than stating his race. Racial descriptors generally led viewers to focus on race, sometimes ignoring other characteristics, such as age, also provided in the description. Such descriptors particularly encouraged biased identification of dark-skinned African Americans. Based upon these findings, the author urges broadcasters to avoid including race in any descriptions because it appears to confuse viewers. en_US
dc.relation.uri http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1931-2431&volume=3&issue=4&spage=214 en_US
dc.rights This is an electronic version of an article published in Loggins, Ginger Miller (2009). Do Racial Descriptors Confuse Viewers? The Utility of Suspect Race in Crime Stoppers and Similar Broadcast Descriptions. Electronic News 3 (4): 214-233. Electronic News is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com with the open URL of your article, which would be the following address: http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1931-2431&volume=3&issue=4&spage=214 en_US
dc.subject Broadcasting en_US
dc.subject Race en_US
dc.subject Criminal suspects en_US
dc.subject Blacks en_US
dc.subject Whites en_US
dc.subject African Americans en_US
dc.title Do Racial Descriptors Confuse Viewers? The Utility of Suspect Race for Identification in Crime Stoppers and Similar Broadcast Descriptions en_US
dc.type Article (author version) en_US
dc.date.published 2009 en_US
dc.citation.doi DOI: 10.1080/19312430903316364 en_US
dc.citation.epage 233 en_US
dc.citation.issue 4 en_US
dc.citation.jtitle Electronic News en_US
dc.citation.spage 214 en_US
dc.citation.volume 3 en_US
dc.contributor.authoreid gloggins en_US


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