Does social class explain the race-crime link? I'm getting tired of these so-called experts who say that the relationship between race and street crime is explained by social class as if that has ever been demonstrated by research. It hasn't. I'm quite familiar with the data and the impact of race, especially on violence, is much stronger than class. The amazing dilemma is that very few studies have examined this question directly. Everyone repeats the mantra, but no one bothers to actually check it out. Well, the General Social Survey has a way of calling bullshit on all the squishy talk.
Using logistic regression, I examined data on 7,477 black and white Americans. The dependent variable is whether you have been arrested or not. When race alone is included in the model, its coefficient is .432, and it is significant at the .001 level. If conventional wisdom is correct, this coefficient should be reduced to zero when parents' class is included. I used father's completed years of school as a measure of this. When it is included in the model along with race, its coefficient is -.026 (significant at the .01 level). (Do not compare the coefficients since the measures are in different metrics, but trust me, race is more powerful).
So does race drop to zero with class thrown in? Absolutely not--in fact, it increases to .461. Class explains nothing.