History of U.S. Race and Ethnic
When interpreting the social conditions of inequality and marginalization faced by minority groups, one needs to look beyond culture-based explanations, which tend to minimize the role of political and economic structures. Additionally, to break down barriers to historical understanding among the various groups that comprise the United States, one needs to analyze the relationships between minority groups and Caucasians. Thus, the analysis needs to expand upon Earl Shorris' (1992:xv) friendly advice to: [Just tell them who we are and that we are not all alike.]
This chapter begins by exploring the historical relationships between African Americans, Caucasians, Cubans, and Mexicans, and their interactions with the American criminal justice system. This historical background will enhance our understanding of when, why, and how African Americans, Mexicans, and Cubans are more likely to be executed or less likely to have their sentences and/or convictions overturned. Then, after the examination of specific race and ethnic histories (and relying on prior empirical and theoretical research), a new typology of death sentence outcomes will be offered and specific hypotheses for each group within each state will be proposed.