Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

Abstract

The United States is the world leader in incarceration. Mass incarceration does not affect all racial groups equally; research literature shows that people of color, but especially Black people in the working and lower classes, face the brunt of policing and incarceration in this country. In Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Black Middle Class and Mass Incarceration, I examine how mass incarceration affects those who are not poor by comparing and contrasting the experiences of middle-class White and Black respondents using data collected from focus groups and one-on-one interviews. Although Black and White respondents sometimes shared similar stories regarding family members who had been incarcerated, I show that their experiences are fundamentally different from each other because of how policing resources are politically distributed. I also show that middle-class Black respondents’ personal interactions with the police are significantly different from those of middle-class White respondents. I argue that middle-class Black people must contend with mass incarceration and policing practices that are distinct from poor Black people specifically and White people in general.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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