Black Families Overlooked, Misunderstood, and Underserved in the Family Courts

Jenae' Anderson, Zenell Brown and Viola King

Racial justice is critical to the American justice system and the mission to advance justice for all. As stakeholders examine efforts to create fairness in the justice system, it is imperative that internal standards and practices are critically examined. Implicit bias and racial inequality must be addressed before true justice reform can take place for marginalized communities. Stakeholders must examine the implicit racial bias of the jurist who hears cases and renders rulings, the role of alternative dispute resolution in family law cases, and whether virtual hearings afford minority communities better access to justice. Judges sitting in courts specializing in family law require not only knowledge of the law but also an understanding of people, cultures, and how to support them with sensitivity. Scientific research has shown that implicit bias might affect the work of judges, referees, and magistrates. Studies show that even people consciously committed to equality may still hold unconscious stereotypes that influence their actions.