Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-14-2015

Faculty Advisor(s)

Ann Gordon


Overtime, support for capital punishment has evolved. Compared to previous decades, support has changed amongst different variables such as: age, race, gender, and political perspective; therefore, today, these variables have changed the amount of support for it. For example, as of today, 6 states have repealed the death penalty with New Jersey being the first in 2007 to do so in 40 years. As memories of Jim Crow and the Civil Rights era have faded due to generational replacement, American society today still has this racial gap, however it is due to this racial resentment or symbolic resentment that the Caucasian community has been empirically supported to have adapted to instead. Racial or symbolic resentment is the idea that African Americans are ‘unwilling to work for themselves’ and due to that mindset, this has linked to a decrease in support of government spending to assist African Americans and other minority groups today. When studying this racial gap between Caucasians and African Americans today, we see an apparent difference in between support for the death penalty. Among some of the most interesting findings, I found that race had the most significant impact on support for the death penalty. Due to generational changes overtime, I hypothesized that support for the death penalty would also be changed by age however, I found little data to support the impact of this variable. This paper concludes with the support that racism continues to play a significant role in the criminal system today.


Presented at the Spring 2015 Student Research Day at Chapman University.