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Summary of the Book “Explaining Racial and Ethnic Differences in Serious Adolescent Violent Behavior”


Racial and ethnic differences have been a source of dispute that arises among youth in the society. The violent behavior of the associated people has resulted in the lack of peace, biodiversity, and calm life. The distinguishable racial and ethnic identities are Asians, the blacks, Native Americans, Hispanics and the whites. Gangs were formed in the past on the basis of the aforementioned racial and ethnic belonging and were witnessed to be involved in the taking of life and the destruction of property. As a result, segregation by ethnic lines and skin colour has been discouraged in the society. 

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to explain the involvement of youth and especially the adolescents in violent behavior subject to race and ethnicity. This has to be done using the urban development theory in conjunction with the criminology theory. Data from National Longitudinal survey gave a clear picture of the groups’ involvement in violent societal behavior.

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Summary of Prior Research Findings

Different ethnic or racial groups are discriminated against for various reasons. For the blacks, it is due to community disadvantage. Hispanics have been involved in the formation of violent gangs. Social bonds among Native Americans are the recipe for trouble among the youth (McNulty & Paul, 2003). Lastly, Asians have been accounted for participating in violent behavior as a result of situational variables. People accuse Asians of the same, and this has contributed to the minor participation of the youth in violence.

Research Hypotheses

Juvenile involvement in violent behavior is mostly common along three racial lines: Hispanics, the blacks and Native Americans, as a contrast to the whites and Asian Americans. The differences can then be attributed to the subdivision of fierceness, materialistic intents, poor community or society organization, and the lack of community control.

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Research Methodology

The study was done with the help of Uniform Crime reports and through the assessment of data from National Longitudinal Survey. Community crime scholars were also interviewed, and their perspective heeded in the derivation of recommendations and conclusions of the study.


The lack of resolution among juveniles is attributed to a number of reasons such as the micro and hypothetical macro perceptions of crime and negligence. The society has also developed the sense of social stratification on the grounds of race, origin and individualism (Thomas, 2001). Community level disadvantage has also been related to individuals’ levels of risk.  This is the reflection of the community’s involvement in violence.

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Another problem is that violence has been linked to two ethnic groups or races - the blacks and the whites. This assumption undermined the involvement of other races and termed them as minor groups, considering that the white-black differences in violence are the most common in the community. This is due to residential discrimination and exposure to society’s criminogenic situations.

Moreover, family structure and socioeconomic status are the reasons for societal involvement in violent behavior. This can be explained by the assumption that a child growing in a disadvantaged and violent community will develop a violent perspective of life. Traditions of various ethnic groups can also lead to juvenile involvement in criminal activities. 

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The lack of social organizations and community disadvantages can be considered the prime causes of juvenile involvement in crime and violent behavior. Furthermore, family situation – for instance, a black single-parent family - and personal experience of the degree of violence add to the judgement (Morenoff. Jeffrey D., 2001). The residential setting can also be pinpointed as a contributing factor as the neighbourhood of an individual creates the perception of behaviour he or she will develop.

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