Are Police Targeting Black Americans?
by hsoppit on October 4, 2014 - 10:54am
The article “Michael Brown Shooting: Why Black Americans Believe They're Targeted by Police” by Mark Gollum on CBC News from august 13, 2014 discusses how black Americans perceive themselves as being targeted by the police and why that would be the case (Gollum, 2014, para 2). The recent killing of unarmed teenager, Michael brown, by a Caucasian police officer has caused a reaction of outrage across the United States, especially in predominantly black communities. A professor expressed that similar cases happen so often that it is hard to tell if there has been much progress in the issue of racism within the justice system. Police forces have attempted to hire a larger number of minority officers as a way to solve the issue but it is difficult to determine whether this has been successful (Gollum, 2014, para 7-9). It is suspected that one of the reasons this is a problem is because of the violent stereotypes that correspond to black Americans. Caucasians claim to be treated justly and respectfully by police while African Americans claim the opposite. It is said that police officers are trained to treat people based on their conduct and it is possible that African Americans are less cooperative in police interactions due to their preconceived distrust of police officers (Gollum, 2014, para 15-18). Numerous police officers are doing the best they can but are placed in communities that have high levels of crime where they are expected to be more forceful in their methods. The combination of the suspicious attitudes of African Americans and the approaches of police are believed to be causing the impression of racism within the police force, putting both parties at fault.
This article gave me the impression that it was discretely trying to refute the likelihood that racism may be a problem within the police force. The author mentioned that it was a possibility, but concentrated more on alternate options like the feasibility that black Americans react more aggressively than Caucasians while interacting with police causing officers to react accordingly as they were trained to do. I disagree with the point that black Americans share as much blame as police. I believe that in claiming African Americans to be just as much to blame as police for the way they are treated promotes a denial that racism is a problem. Considering the number of incidents where black Americans and Canadians have been unnecessarily targeted and treated brutally by the police makes me think that you cannot refute racism. I think that if anything there are many explanations to be taken into consideration. I agree that the ones the author brought up may contribute but the issue of racism is the main problem and should not be belittled. This article helped me learn how to recognize when an article or news broadcast is trying to minimalize the gravity of racism within society. A problem that I found the article to have was its choice of wording. For example the word “race” was used as a way to classify people based on their skin colour which demonstrates an incorrect use of this term seeing as race is not real, and merely a socially constructed concept. They would have been better off using “people of colour” to express their point appropriately. They also used terms like African American, black American, and minority interchangeably to refer to Americans of colour. I found this misleading for the reason that these all mean different things. African Americans are Americans that originate from Africa, black Americans refer to any Americans of colour which does not limit itself to those originating from Africa and minority refers to any group that is not of the majority group which includes Latin Americans, Asian Americans and many others. This causes me to question who exactly they are referring to throughout the article. A strong point for the article was that it had facts about previous murder cases of black Americans by police officers and many ideas from university professors with degrees relating to the issue of racism. These individuals are liable sources of information due to their positions of authority in this field and cause me to trust the material they are conveying.
Gollum, Mark. (2014, august 11). Michael Brown Shooting: Why Black Americans Believe They're Targeted by Police. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/michael-brown-shooting-why-blacks-in-the-u-s-believe-they-re-targeted-by-police-1.2734537