Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Policy and Administration

Advisor

Kevin Fandl

Abstract

Although extensive quantitative research has been conducted on Black American incarceration rates, to date, there has not been a study from an Afrocentric (Black American) perspective in the field of public policy. Using Dillard's conceptualization of Afrocentric theory, this study added to the field of public policy by examining how the stigmas associated with mass incarceration have reduced political and economic opportunities for Black Americans born 1965 â?? 1984. The purpose of this ethnographic study was to provide an Afrocentric voice by which the members of the Black American community are the center of the data collection on the stigmas associated with incarceration as a product of the new Jim Crow (mass incarceration) for those born between 1965 -1984 (the hip-hop generation where the music is the center of the culture) in the United States. Data were collected through semistructured interviews with selected informants based on their background work, experience, and cultural orientation within the Black American community; these data were analyzed via a summative content analysis, which revealed new perspectives on the stigmas associated with incarceration. The new perspective that was gained asked for the structure of the Black American church to be reexamined due to the rise in the mega-church, an improved culturally sensitive K-12 public educational system, and the overall reconnection and strengthening of the Black American family structure. These findings suggest that social change can only occur when researchers of color are allowed to provide their perspectives on issues that affect those they represent. Hence, the social change implications for this study ask that political leaders work directly with the hip-hop generation and the Black American community as a whole to make changes in legislation through political liberalism.

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