The Silence of the White Majority
Why do the majority of White Americans
remain silent about the obvious and well documented inequalities in the
criminal justice system? Does the
silence of most White Americans in regards to our biased criminal justice system
indicate that most of these people are racists?
Or does their silence simply mean they are indifferent to the problems
of inequality in our judicial system?
Perhaps an explanation of this silence can be forwarded by Elizabeth
Noelle-Neumann’s imperfect “Spiral of Silence Theory” (SOS). “This theory, as formulated
by Noelle-Neumann, suggests that with respect to issues that are morally laden
and controversial, people refrain from expressing opinions they perceive are or
will be shared by a minority of the public.
This process is thought to occur because individuals
fear isolation from the broader society” (Moy, Domke, & Stamm, 2001, p.7).