Racial Bias and Law Enforcement

Slide 2

My career field is law enforcement. Law enforcement primarily involves deterring crime, arresting offenders, rehabilitation, and prescribing punishments for those who break the laws of the country. Law enforcement involves equal and unbiased application of laws to all individuals irrespective of their rank or ethnic background. Law enforcement officers too are expected to abide by the laws provided by the Constitution as well as department rules and obligations. In the recent past, cases of ethnic profiling involving law enforcement officers has been on the increase. Majority of these cases involve the fatal shootings of unarmed black men, sparking protests against law enforcement officers. The incidences has also increased racial tension in the U.S., and threated to destroy the cordial relationship between law enforcement officers and the black community.

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The article selected explores the concept of racial bias and law enforcement with regard to the recent killings of unarmed black men in the U.S. The article examines the generalized racial bias that exists among various groups in the U.S. and the particular attributes that relate to law enforcement. The article looks at the common forms of negative stereotyping that relate to Black Men.

Slide 4

In 2014, a number of Black civilian deaths were witnessed at the hands of law enforcement officers. Hall, Erika & Perry (2016) examines the root causes of the killings by law enforcement officers. The three also describe how the nature of law enforcement may attract individuals with unique characteristics that increase their susceptibility to develop prejudicial thoughts towards Black males. The article utilizes media reports to gather evidence on the clash between law enforcement officers and Black males. The article utilizes empirical research drawn from industrial, social, and organizational psychology.

Slide 5

Two critical and distinct factors come into play in matters involving ethnically motivated police killings. These include racial bias (which includes stereotyping processes) and the core characteristics of law enforcement officers such as social dominance (Hall, Erika, & Perry, 2016). The article examines each of the factors in its entirety in order to establish the motives behind police killings of Black men. By analyzing the factors that motivate police killings, the article hopes to provide solutions that can help reduce police killings of unarmed African American civilians.

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The research relates to the field of law enforcement in a variety of ways. First, the research explores the concept of negative stereotyping, which impacts majority of the law enforcement officers (Hall, Erika, & Perry, 2016). The research explores the various negative stereotypes towards Black males that exist in the larger society. Negative stereotyping is one of the major forces contributing excessive use of force by law enforcement officers against the Blacks. The research then identifies the various mechanisms under which negative stereotyping interact  with specific aspects of law enforcement and lead to excessive use of force by law enforcement officers. The research makes recommendations that can help improve police-civilian relationships and law enforcement in general.

Slide 7

The research explores the nature of racial bias in society, noting the two distinct ways in which it occurs. These include: implicit bias and explicit bias. Implicit bias is when the perpetrator lacks self awareness of his/her own biases. On the other hand, explicit bias occurs when the perpetrator can introspectively recognize own biases towards others (Hall, Erika, & Perry, 2016). Explicit bias may arise due to direct perceived threats in the environment. Implicit bias occurs below the conscious levels of individuals. Those who exhibit implicit bias have no intentional control over their biases. The manifestation of implicit biases depends on the environment as well as the perceiver’s motives (Blair, 2002). Law enforcement officers exhibit these type of biases. Implicit bias may develop out of personal experiences. Social learning experiences also play a critical role in development of implicit bias among individuals.

Slide 8

The research identifies the common type of biases in law enforcement. The three include Black youth having adult-like features, the notion of Blacks as being both subhuman and superhuman, and the notion that Blacks are inherently violent (Hall, Erika, & Perry, 2016). A number of studies indicate that Black youths are perceived as relatively older compared to their real age. This notion leads to excessive use of force, whereby police officers employ more force like they would in case of an adult. This means that law enforcement officers should be keen not to make wrong judgments about the age of Black suspects. In the past, shootings of minors have occurred where police thought they were older.  The second type of bias involves dehumanizing Blacks. Historically, Blacks have experienced dehumanizing treatment in the U.S., dating back to slavery period. On the other hand, some individuals hold the notion that Blacks have a higher pain threshold compared to whites (Hall, Erika, & Perry, 2016). Lastly, the research explores the negative stereotype that Blacks are violent and criminal in nature.

Slide 9

The research is of great importance to law enforcement agencies. First, the research identifies the various factors contributing to racial bias and the various types of negative stereotypes that develop. It is important for law enforcement officers to identify the negative stereotypes they hold against particular communities. This can assist in developing mechanisms that can be applied by law enforcement officers to deal with the negative stereotypes. By learning about the factors contributing towards racial bias, law enforcement agencies can be able to develop specific training or educational programs to address the factors. This can lead to a decline in incidences of ethnically motivated police shootings (Hall, Erika, & Perry, 2016).

Slide 10

The research examines the nature of law enforcement by analyzing characteristics of law enforcement officers and how these characteristics impact their judgment. For instance, majority of police officers are individuals who appreciate order in the society, are keen on socialization, and uphold social hierarchy. Law enforcement officers have exhibit unique strong bonds that hold them together. For instance, law enforcement officers are more likely to hold demonstrations in unanimity for an injustice experienced by one of their own. This leads to the development of the “us vs. them” mentality among law enforcement officers (Hall, Erika, & Perry, 2016). Law enforcement officers hold similar values such as solidarity, honor, duty, and power. With regard to power, this means that law enforcement officers are likely to act in particular ways to enforce the concept of power in situations they perceive threats from civilians, whom they may associate with holding more power over them due to possession of items such as guns.

Slide 11

The information provides various solutions that law enforcement agencies can implement to reduce cases of ethnically motivated shootings. The article highlights the need for urgent police reforms as one of the solutions to the unfolding situation. The article notes that since racial bias is not restricted to law enforcement agencies, there is need for change even among community members (Hall, Erika, & Perry, 2016). In line with this, there should be efforts to address racial bias among children. This is because children are highly likely to internalize the negative stereotypes they learn from their parents and other individuals they interact with on a daily basis.

Personality and Culture

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