Police Influence on Society
The relationship between police and minority societies has always been a difficult one with many issues. Before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s African Americans were treated brutally by the police in the United States. African Americans along with other minority groups were often abused by police. Minorities were viewed to have no rights and this treatment was commonplace. This brutal treatment caused individuals of minority groups to distrust and fear the police. Minorities are viewed to be from poor crime ridden neighborhoods and therefore considered to be of the criminal type due to the high rate of crime in poor, minority neighborhoods. Before the Civil Rights Movement minority groups, particularly the blacks, were treated harshly by the police. Minorities did not have any rights before Civil Rights were enacted and police often treated minorities brutally. “In 1963 Police brutality was a serious issue for African Americans” (Crenshaw, 2011).
Many people, including police officers felt that they could treat Blacks any way they wanted, abuse was common place and went without punishment due to the Blacks having no rights. “Africans brought to America had no rights which the White man was bound to respect” (MacNamara, 2009). In the 1960’s, and before, the police force was made up solely of white males who frequently abused men and women of minority groups. The constant abuse and mistreatment of minorities caused a large number of individuals to grow to distrust and even hate the police. The white police officers were able to mistreat and abuse minorities without fear of reprimand. This harsh treatment and abuse from police throughout history has cause a high amount of distrust, fear, and doubt from the African American community. “For much of Black America, Police Influence on Society police brutality induces paralyzing fear because it often translates to assault on the streets” (Savali, 2012). As time and society has progressed so has the distrust and fear of police from minority groups.
The mentality of many African Americans is that police cannot be trusted. “As most of us might guess, race is the biggest predictor of attitudes toward police. The relationship of race to attitudes towards police has been extensively studied. Research has shown that minorities tend to have less favorable views of the police when compared to whites. African Americans have the least favorable views, followed by Hispanics” (Jefferson, 2013). Social class also has an effect on the viewpoints of individuals concerning the police. Social class also has an effect on the way that an individual is treated by the police. Individuals of lower social classes are generally viewed to be of the criminal type. Poorer neighborhoods generally have high crime rates and are more dangerous than upper class neighborhoods. “High rates of crime and violence in poor neighborhoods have been described by numerous scholars and journalists” (Bjerk, 2009).
Individuals who love in wealthy neighborhoods are generally treated with respect by police due to not being viewed as the criminal type, also, lower crime rates in wealthy neighborhoods has an effect on the attitude of police toward wealthier individuals. “No one, it seems, is willing to discuss the role that class plays. There is a stunning and disproportionately large percentage of evidence that the very system is inherently racist” (Wright, 2013). The differences in the way that individuals of different social classes and races are treated by police only add to the suspicion and distrust of police by minority groups. Decades of harsh and brutal treatment of minorities by the police has caused significant distrust and fear of police. Before the Civil Rights Movement police were allowed to treat Police Influence on Society minorities with as much brutal force and they pleased without fear of reprimand.
African Americans were often treated extremely brutally causing them to have the highest levels of distrust and fear of police. Minority neighborhoods have high crime rates, causing the minorities to be viewed as criminals and continuously treated harsher than those of higher social classes and wealthier neighborhoods, who are not considered to be the criminal type and treated with more respect. The relationship between police and minority societies has always been a difficult one with many issues and continues to be strained due to the harsh treatment that is received by police.
MacNamara, R. H., & Burns, R. (2009). Multiculturalism in the criminal justice system. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Crenshaw, I. Police Brutality Towards African Americans During the Civil Rights Movement, Prezi, 2011, retrieved from http://prezi.com/4d6rj61s09xi/police-brutality-towards-african-americans-during-civil-rights-movement-in-1963/
Jefferson, B. Attitudes Toward Police, 2013, retrieved from http://yvpc.sph.umich.edu/2013/07/02/attitudes-police-cycle-distrust/
Savali, K. Petition to Fight Back Against Police Brutality, 2012, retrieved from http://newsone.com/2029299/police-brutality-against-blacks-petition/
Bjerk, D. Thieves, Thugs, and Neighborhood Poverty, 2010, retrieved from http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/events/2010/july/applied-microeconomics-micro-summer-conference-2010/ThievesThugs_DavidBjerk.pdf
Wright, P. The Crime of Being Poor, 2013, retrieved from https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/(X(1)S(yd3dqc2hhdxgpc55uvlwxu55))/displayArticle.aspx?articleid=6070&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1