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Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2014;84(1):25-34. doi: 10.1037/h0098734.

Discrimination, developmental science, and the law: addressing dramatic shifts in civil rights jurisprudence.

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1
Indiana University.

Abstract

The civil rights movement fostered dramatic shifts in legal responses to discrimination based on race, gender, and a host of other group characteristics. The legal system now evinces yet another dramatic shift, as it moves from considering difference to focusing on neutrality, from efforts that seek to counter subjugation to those that adopt a "color-blind" approach. The shifting approach already has reached laws regulating responses to the group that spurred massive civil rights reform: minority youth. The shift requires a different body of empirical evidence to address it and a new look at equality jurisprudence. This article notes the need to turn to the current understanding of prejudice and discrimination for guidance, and uses, as illustration, developmental science to shed light on the development, manifestation, and alleviation of invidious discrimination. Using that understanding, the analysis details how the legal system can benefit from that research and better address discrimination in light of dramatic changes in law. The article articulates the need to address discrimination by recognizing and enlisting the law's inculcative powers through multiple sites of inculcation, ranging from families, schools, health and justice systems to religious and community groups. The discussion concludes with brief suggestions for reform benefiting from understandings of prejudice and its expression.

PMID:
24826823
DOI:
10.1037/h0098734
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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