Race, Victim precipitated homicide, and the subculture of violence thesis.

The subculture of violence thesis suggests that African Americans are disproportionately likely to respond to minor transgressions with lethal force because of a culturally defined need to protect one’s reputation and a normative aversion to legal forms of dispute resolution. Using data on over 950 non-justifiable homicides from police files, the present study tests this hypothesis by examining race-specific patterns of victim precipitation (i.e., the victim’s role in initiating the homicide). If, as the theory suggests, African Americans are more likely to respond to minor affronts with lethal violence than Whites, then African American homicide incidents should have more victim precipitation, particularly in the form of minor acts of provocation. The results of the current analysis do not support this hypothesis and therefore are inconsistent with the notion that a unique subculture of violence among African Americans explains their disproportionately high levels of homicide victimization and offending.

Main Author: Hannon, Lance.
Format: Villanova Faculty Authorship
Language: English
Published: 2003
Online Access: http://ezproxy.villanova.edu/login?url=https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:176708