Inequality, Interactional Complexity, and Violent Delinquency: An Exploration of Structural, Family, and Individual Considerations
M. A. Bruce
Over three decades have passed since the defeat of Jim Crow, yet the United States continues to be a dangerous place to live for many poor and racial/ethnic minority citizens. Unlike the brutality witnessed and endured by subordinate racial groups during the majority of this country’s existence, participants in violent encounters often come from the same age, gender, class, and race groupings. To make sense of these patterns, I do two things. First, I offer a critical examination of previous work and present a conceptual frame that is more specific with regard to racial stratification and its relationship with violent delinquency. Second, I analyze data drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to highlight the interactional complexity of the relationship between stratification and violence. The results from robust regression analysis show violence to be the product of a complex process whereby social-environment factors combine to influence individual behavior in race- and gender-specific ways. These findings raise questions about the theoretical underpinnings of research in his area, and encourage us to think differently about linkages between race and violence.
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