Racial Profiling Of The Criminal Justice System Towards Minorities

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Abstract

This research proposal looks to further investigate the deep racial profiling that is present in law enforcement officers and to articulate and explain what these individuals that are being racially profiled go through. These racially profiled individuals range from African American males, Hispanics, and all the way to individuals from Asian background. Learning about this is very important due to the nature of how common it is. This proposal reviews 3 scholarly articles and aims to explain the research that has been brought forth to help understand the racial biases going on in our criminal justice system in this day and age. This proposal aims to understand the types of racial profiling that are experienced by minorities by our criminal justice officials.

Review of Relevant Literature

Researchers have consistently highlighted black and white differences in attitudes toward the police and documented the perception of police misconduct in some African-American areas, in particular disadvantaged neighborhoods, where forceful police strategies are at times aggressively employed (Martinez, 2007). In this essay Stewart focuses on the broader implications of Brunson’s findings and on what the findings mean for police–community relations (Stewart, 2007). Several studies have shown that African Americans are more likely than whites to believe that minorities receive harsh, unequal, and discriminatory treatment by the criminal justice system (Stewart, 2007) When individuals perceive that they are being treated unfairly, they are likely to express less support for the procedural justice process, leading to negative evaluations of the criminal justice system, negative interactions with its agents, and possibly secondary deviance (Stewart, 2007). This research shows why individuals feel the way they do about the criminal justice system and its officials due to the fact that they feel like they are not being treated fairly and are being discriminated against. There are many ways that one could obtain vicarious information. For example, one may directly observe someone being mistreated by the police or indirectly learn from family or friends (Stewart, 2007).

Furthermore, one may also learn of police mistreatment by various forms of media outlets (Stewart, 2007). Martinez explains that there are many ways minorities learn from there interactions with law enforcement officials and the way they are treated, but what is concerning is whether individuals learn more from what they observe in person in or any social media outlet, or from what their family member could share with them about how they are mistreated in society by any law enforcement agent (Stewart, 2007). Martinez refers to the qualitative research approach which allows researchers to measure the various sources of negative vicarious police experiences and understand the meaning one attaches to these experiences, which is what Brunson’s (2007) study does, which is the research Martinez was referring to (Martinez, 2007).

Brunson had examined in-depth interviews of 40 African-American adolescent males who resided in a disadvantaged urban neighborhood in St. Louis to better understand their experiences with the police (Stewart, 2007). A major focus of the study was to develop a “detailed understanding” of how these African-American adolescent males interpret their interactions with the police, as well as the interactions of family members, friends, and neighbors, and to assess how these experiences shape their perceptions of the police (Stewart, 2007). These types of interactions with law enforcement officials with minority groups at an early age can either reinforce or debunk the idea that law enforcement agents mistreat minorities as opposed white Americans.

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The findings suggest that either direct or indirect mistreatment by the police led to negative evaluations by the participants (Stewart, 2007). For example, about 83% of the study participants reported being harassed and treated unfairly by the police, whereas over 90% of the participants noted that they knew of someone who had been mistreated by the police (Stewart, 2007). Like it was mentioned before, minorities are either victims of this racially motivated profiling or know of someone that has experienced these acts first hand. These numbers are extremely high and indicate that among these adolescents, police mistreatment is common (Stewart, 2007).

Overall, the findings suggest that direct negative experiences with the police, as well as learning of others’ negative experiences with the police and indirect experiences, accumulate to the point that they begin to undermine individuals’ trust and cooperation with the police (Stewart, 2007). Hearing about these racially motivated acts can affect and change a minorities impression of police officers, especially now in this day and age where everything and anything is recorded of and put on social media to be viewed by thousands, sometimes even millions of people, to see and digest. Having social media capture all the bad moments that minorities encounter with law enforcement officials further proves the fact that police in fact aren’t treating minorities correctly. As noted, there are racial differences in how African-Americans and whites view the criminal justice system in terms of fairness (Stewart, 2007).

Although race is one of the most salient predictors of perceptions and attitudes toward the police, researchers have also noted that attitudes toward the police may be a function of neighborhood context (Stewart, 2007). Race comes into play when there is any interaction between minorities and law enforcement officials as minorities have a distorted way of looking at police officers and anything they do to them as racially motivated. Having this distorted view does not help the police officers that aren’t being racially biased, but instead hurts them as minorities may look for some type of way to make the interaction racially motivated. Because many residents of structurally disadvantaged neighborhoods feel estranged from formal institutions, they may lack the social and/or political capital to engage law enforcement in order to address various problems within their neighborhood (Stewart, 2007).

Often, the police may view these structurally depressed neighborhoods as crime-prone ecological units (Martinez, 2007). In these structurally distressed and disadvantaged areas where violence is common, residents distrust and lack faith in the criminal justice system (Stewart, 2007). Several studies have found that residents in disadvantaged neighborhoods often complain of dissatisfaction with the police, inadequate police protection, and police abuse, with the consequence being strained relationships between residents and legal authorities (Stewart, 2007). Having police officers view minority neighborhoods in such a way doesn’t help the racially motivated treatment as law enforcement officials are people and people tend to associate these problematic neighborhoods with minorities which also distorts the way that law enforcement sees minorities

References

  1. STEWART, E. A. (2007). Either They Don’t Know or They Don’t Care: Black Males and Negative Police Experiences. Criminology & Public Policy, 6(1), 123–130. MARTÍNEZ, R. (2007). Incorporating Latinos and Immigrants into Policing Research. Criminology & Public Policy, 6(1), 57–64
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Racial Profiling Of The Criminal Justice System Towards Minorities. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/racial-profiling-of-the-criminal-justice-system-towards-minorities/
“Racial Profiling Of The Criminal Justice System Towards Minorities.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/racial-profiling-of-the-criminal-justice-system-towards-minorities/
Racial Profiling Of The Criminal Justice System Towards Minorities. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/racial-profiling-of-the-criminal-justice-system-towards-minorities/> [Accessed 23 Apr. 2024].
Racial Profiling Of The Criminal Justice System Towards Minorities [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2024 Apr 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/racial-profiling-of-the-criminal-justice-system-towards-minorities/
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