Celebrating 10 Years of Research
The 10th Racial Attitudes in Pulaski County Conference was held March 28, 2013. The UALR Institute of Government has collected data research on race relations in central Arkansas since the beginning of Dr. Joel E. Anderson’s tenure as Chancellor in 2003. The survey results are shared in a summarized report each year because the university believes sound research is essential in order to seek out solutions that will help us obtain racial and ethnic justice in Arkansas. Ten years ago, Chancellor Anderson issued a challenge at the inaugural Racial Attitudes in Pulaski County conference: “You have to face it to fix it.”
“Ten years may sound like a lot, but for the issues we’re addressing, I would say we are just now to the point where we have begun to have a real baseline for looking at ourselves and our movement,” Anderson said.
See the full video of the 10th Annual Conference
Anderson said a positive trend was indicated in the increased improvement seen in questions related to trust, “particularly given that trust is the foundation on which easy and enduring cooperation is built.”
In general terms, both blacks and whites rate race relations as “very good” or “somewhat good.” Yet a more nuanced look at the numbers shows a level of disparity regarding racial profiling, Anderson said. Nonetheless, the perception of profiling has indeed waned among blacks.
“I would offer speculation … that this could be a case where direct attention to an issue by responsible officials [such as law enforcement] actually produced that result,” he said.
Focus on Crime & Punishment
The focus of this year’s conference was on Crime and Punishment in Arkansas. Questions of crime and punishment including what is deemed acceptable punishment in our society, is an ongoing, debated topic in communities across Pulaski County. The Institute, therefore, decided to couple the research project, “Racial Disparities in the Arkansas Criminal Justice System,” with this year’s Racial Attitudes Conference.
Key findings from the survey, in which white, black, and Hispanic residents were asked questions about their personal views on punishments for criminal behavior, was presented. Local crime experts and professionals served on a panel and discussed the survey results and ways of addressing issues regarding the current state of the corrections and judicial system. Audience members then had the opportunity to provide their personal views and suggest recommendations for the Institute’s work during the strategy session following the panel discussion.
Olly Neal, Appellate Court Judge (retired)
Robert Tellez, Attorney, Monterrey & Tellez Law Firm PLLC
Leta Anthony, Director, Lewis-Burnett Employment Finders, Inc.
Dr. Charles Chastain, Prison Library Project and UALR Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice
Eric Higgins, Assistant Chief of Police, Little Rock Police Department
For more information on the criminal justice research project, go to the Racial Disparities in the Arkansas Criminal Justice System page.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 501.569.8932.