Williams explains, ”Previous research has found that people stereotype certain kinds of crimes as being associated with Black individuals as compared to white individuals. But does race really drive these beliefs? In a series of three studies, I show that people's stereotypes about who is likely to engage in different kinds of crimes is largely driven by inferences about ecology, and not race.
“Black and white targets from resource-poor (and resource-rich) environments were stereotyped as similarly likely (or unlikely) to commit a variety of crimes (e.g., drug possession, resisting arrest, vehicle theft) that in the absence of ecology are seen as ‘stereotypically Black,’” she said.
Williams noted, “This has some really interesting implications for reducing racial bias in the justice system: Race differences in legal outcomes should be mitigated to the extent that targets present similar cues to ecology.”