Is police enforcement a matter of black and white?
by Ccorc2 on April 13, 2014 - 4:37pm
The main idea of the article I just read about policing of Latinos and the differences that are seen in stops made by non-Latino police and Latino drivers rather than when a non-Latino is stopped. According to the article, 69 police surveillance videos from the dashboards of cruisers were analyzed and when the results were in their hypothesis was supported. The videos showed that Latinos were stopped for much more correctable things, such as expired tags or having a headlight out, rather than speeding or reckless driving (Giles et al, 2012). It was found that most Latinos were not put through more extensive policing, however Latinos with a very strong accent were discriminated against. The police also tended to be less accommodating towards requests. I find this interesting because our society as a whole tends to focus more on how police treat African Americans and people of black decent rather than seeing the larger picture that includes the discriminations of all races and ethnicities that can be seen commonly. I also chose this article because I think the outcome is interesting. I believe that the fact that they were not policed more extensively shows that progress towards stopping discrimination has been made, but the fact that they were pulled over for smaller reasons and that people with heavy accents were still discriminated against shows that there is still much progress to be made. The fundamental question that is put forth in this research, are Latinos being discriminated against by police, cannot be answered with a simple yes or no question from the conclusion of this article. Instead there is this web of understanding and different reactions to different situations that must be further researched if an answer is to be reached. The question of discrimination is more than just black or white. The issue with policing and race needs to somehow be adjusted so that no matter what race is being pulled over and what race is pulling someone over, they are seen immediately as each other’s equals rather than a cop feeling that they have more rights than those whom they stop. Although police may have more power than those who are being pulled over does not mean that they should think themselves superior to others. This power struggle has been visible for a long time now and I believe that in order for a change to be seen the police’s mindset needs to change. They should be trained in a way that shows them phsycologically they are no better than anyone else and that should be kept in mind, especially when they are on duty.
Howard Giles, Daniel Linz, Doug Bonilla, Michelle Leah Gomez, Police Stops of and Interactions with Latino and White (Non-Latino) Drivers: Extensive Policing and Communication Accommodation, Communication Monographs , Vol. 79, Iss. 4, 2012