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


I appreciate the expansion of this issue, regarding the people with a Latino background, on how they are being more mistreated than those without a Latino background. Although I can't read the article myself, I still think it's a start to discuss more about how writing stories and promoting change will, hopefully, change the philosophy of the police officers to a more universal level than an imperialistic level. I do agree that regardless of police officers being officially in enforcement, they are to be as equal to everyone else; they're simply there to intervene one's behavior in case it is not right to city, state, or governmental laws, which is what we can actually do (though it is not always the case).

Then again, we must investigate more of this issue universally to see if there truly is discrimination, or simply a misunderstanding of how officers should treat the people they put surveillance on. Apply this article to other different cases of police involving more mistreatment than how they should, because then there may be a way to work around this sort of encroachment problem so that way punishments are not always determined by their origins.

As part of my research project, one of the starting sources I've used is DK Publishing's Art That Changed the World, where I came across an interesting section involving pop art. On my summary of that part of the book, I took a look at three different parts that made an influence to the people since the 1950s: pop art, abstract art, and art involving traditions of figures.

Ideally, social borders became more eradicated through the use of pop art because more people were integrated to society than the elite class. There was a massive spread of cinema stars, comic books with cheap and accessible artwork, as well as a movement set out by some artists, including London-born artist Richard Hamilton. He was one of the founders of the Independent Group, involved in the pop art movement. Pop art, and its public exhibitions, has allowed pop culture to tie the meanings of multiple and influential works to the philosophy of the general population. Thus, people became more adaptable to the mass culture instead of focusing more on the past such as the years of World War II, and this promoted more interaction between one another. It was in association with the booming economy, and the massive growth in fashion and music, to influence cultural values, guide children and youth into the mainstream, and open more into popular culture through use of television sets, magazines, and cinemas. In 1960, in North Carolina, a Woolworth's lunch counter agrees to serve a black customer.

There has been art influencing the world on the general philosophy of our humanity, and it still continues on nowadays. We can apply this type of art to reflect upon the mistreatment of Latinos, from the police officers, to the general public, and see the reality of promoting equality instead of following history and tradition.