Experiencing Court, Experiencing Race: Perceived Procedural Injustice Among Court Users

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Race and Justice

Publication Date



Critical race theorists (CRTs) posit that racism is endemic in American society, neutrality is a myth, experiential knowledge of racial minorities should be privileged and race is merely a social construction and is therefore unable to explain attitudes or behaviors. Analyzing a national sample of citizens with recent court experience, the present inquiry draws from these insights as it seeks to understand whether racial/ethnic groups differently experience court, and whether such differences could be accounted for by how actors in the court proceeding differently experience race. Our findings suggest that racial disparities in perceived procedural injustice indeed exist, but by following CRT we are able to get beyond a mere acknowledgment of their existence and work toward understanding how they exist. We also consider the role played by a number of other factors relating to one’s courtroom experience in shaping perceived procedural injustice and discuss both the theoretical and practical implications of our research.




Criminal Justice


Criminology and Criminal Justice