Police Institutions: Racial and Ethnical Issues

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It is indisputable that the policing institutions in the United States of America have occasionally engaged in pervasive actions in the course of executing their duties. According to Ronald Parks, a researcher, reported incidences range from mild misunderstandings between police officers and the public to extreme cases of violence (Parks & Mastrofski, 2008). The United States of America has several racial groups. When a controversial incident involving police and citizens belonging to one of the racial groups occurs within the United States, people of different races express different reactions.

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Establishing the reason for the difference in the reactions is essential in forging a good relationship between the police agencies and the public that they serve (Parks & Mastrofski, 2008). This quest raises two questions that must be answered for an effective solution to be found.

  1. Are the actions of the police agencies deliberate transgressions or are they perceived illusions imposed on the institutions by the prejudiced racial groups?
  2. Is the difference in opinion of different racial groups a result of inherent cultural perception or a product of racial intolerance and animosity?

Prejudice as a Factor of Conflict

The problem seems to emanate from the competition that exists between the races since occupation of America by migratory groups. This competition has resulted in distorted perceptions and prejudice towards policing institutions. Different groups also harbor prejudice towards each other. While excesses by the security agencies may be genuine, they are less likely to be instigated by racial prejudice. Most of the cases are a result of general indiscipline and ignorance of the police officers while occasionally, racial animosity results in conflict (Rowe, 2007). The few cases that arise due to racial differences are amplified by the perception of various racial groups within American society and the gravity of the situation is exaggerated (Parks & Mastrofski, 2008). This diverts attention from the real cause of the majority of the incidences.

Group Superiority

Michael Rowe suggests that the white population has the general attitude that the minority groups pose a threat to their presumably superior position when a police officer from a minority ethnic or racial group is involved in a confrontation with a white citizen. On the other hand, minority groups perceive conflicts between white police officers and citizens of minority groups as efforts to prevent them from achieving a status equal to that of the majority white population (Rowe, 2007). In addition, the minority groups consider the government security agencies to be controlled by the white majority. This is why people of minority racial and ethnic groups will often complain of partiality of police operations more than the white majority.

Ignorance and Indiscipline in the Police Force

The other cause of the conflicts is the perception that the minority populations harbor criminals. A police officer will take interest in a member of a minority racial or ethnic group regardless of the racial background of the particular officer (Weitzer & Tuch, 2009). The motive behind the heightened interest is the quest to ensure security rather than the intention to propagate racial oppression. Thus, the actions of police officers are a result of ignorance and general indiscipline.

Research carried out in Indianapolis in 2006 suggests that police officers of all races stop and search cars driven by African Americans at the same rate (Weitzer & Tuch, 2009). The rate of stop-and-search operations for white citizens is much lower regardless of the racial background of the officer conducting the exercise. Data from citizens also indicate that the black population is prejudiced towards the police agencies more than the white population (Weitzer & Tuch, 2009). This supports the opinion that the minority racial and ethnic groups perceive the police institutions to be under the control of the white majority population. The attitudes were not related to the culture of the respective races at all.

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References

Parks, R., & Mastrofski, S. (2008). Police racial profiling in two american Cities: Some evidence on stop and searches. U.S. Department of Justice., 31(6), 1-32.

Rowe, M. (2007). Policing diversity. Police Quarterly, 5(4), 5-25.

Weitzer, R., & Tuch, S. (2009). Race and Perceptions of Police Misconduct. Society for the Study of Social Problems, 51(3), 3-21.

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"Police Institutions: Racial and Ethnical Issues." DemoEssays, 21 Apr. 2022, demoessays.com/police-institutions-racial-and-ethnical-issues/.

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DemoEssays. (2022) 'Police Institutions: Racial and Ethnical Issues'. 21 April.

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DemoEssays. 2022. "Police Institutions: Racial and Ethnical Issues." April 21, 2022. https://demoessays.com/police-institutions-racial-and-ethnical-issues/.

1. DemoEssays. "Police Institutions: Racial and Ethnical Issues." April 21, 2022. https://demoessays.com/police-institutions-racial-and-ethnical-issues/.


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DemoEssays. "Police Institutions: Racial and Ethnical Issues." April 21, 2022. https://demoessays.com/police-institutions-racial-and-ethnical-issues/.