Immigration, identity, and crime: the perspectives and experiences of west indian young men
Robertson, Oral Nicholas
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ABSTRACT This dissertation explores the relationship between immigration, identity, and crime among one subset of the black immigrant youth population, West Indian youth. I seek to answer the following research questions: (1) How do West Indian young men perceive the American criminal justice system? Do they think it is fair or unfair? Do these perceptions differ due to generational status? Do these perceptions differ by racial and ethnic identity? (2) When comparing West Indians to African Americans, who do West Indian young me perceive as more likely to be involved in crime and delinquency? Why do they think that either West Indians or African Americans are more likely to be involved in crime and delinquency? (3) How do friends, family, and neighborhoods contexts influence West Indian young men¿s involvement in crime and delinquency? I performed 30 in-depth interviews with West Indian young men to answer these questions. In the first substantive chapter, I find that West Indian young men perceive the criminal justice system as biased against against racial ¿minorities¿ regardless of generational status, identity, or social class status. Next I find that most respondents think that African Americans are more likely to be involved in crime and delinquency compared to West Indians; the explanations are structural and cultural. Finally my findings suggest that family, especially parents, were the most important factor regarding involvement in crime and delinquency, followed by friends and neighborhood context.