In light of the Trayvon Martin Controversy, it seems again obvious to all that police enforce the law differently across the United States. Trayvon Martin’s only crime was being the wrong color, in the wrong place, at the wrong place. Unfortunately, in America that crime all too frequently carries vigilante justice, carried out by the very people who are supposed to prevent it. We see this as case after case first comes into media focus then fades as another takes its place. It now is a deeply embedded assumption that the circumstances, race and gender must be considered when evaluating any arrest in the United States because we all “know” that the police use racial profiling when they enforce the lawl Sometimes, police corruption and willingness to create evidence forces a “Not Guilty” verdict, this was the case with OJ Simpson. The police blatantly created evidence. In a subsequent civil trial, it did not take long for the jury to find him responsible for his wife’s death.
Another circumstance that brings the issue of racially biased police searches is the unequal number of searches in New York City that result in the discovery of small amounts of marijuana. Recent statistics show that a higher percentage of individuals arrested are black, while studies show that marijuana use is more equally balanced along racial lines. In order for these numbers to exist, the police must be search less white individuals than people of other racial backgrounds. Once again this is not the case, minorities are targeted for more searches. This again brings into focus how the police do not enforce our laws equally across racial lines.
The racial law enforcement imbalance carries into a number of issues that challenge our civilization today. The unbalanced rates of arrests and convictions result in a number of other imbalances. The majority of prison inmates are minority individuals. People with criminal convictions have a harder time finding jobs, contributing to higher minority unemployment rates. Some convictions result in a loss or suspension of voting rights that contributes to greater imbalances in political representation. Considering the importance placed upon voting rights in today’s election cycle this action is coming under greater scrutiny. The use of phonetic sensitive software further contributes to these complications as similar sounding names may be called into play. This in particular creates a vicious cycle when minority rights are not deeply felt and considered by the people who create the laws. The statistical “proof” of the higher rate of minority criminal convictions also contributes to the perpetuation of racial stereotypes.
This racial imbalance carries forth into day to day activity in our communities. . When the police enforce the law unequally, they alienate themselves from the communities they serve. This creates an “us vs. them” scenario. When they enforce the law equally, it disarms this conflict. Then the police are in a position to involve the community in law enforcement. When they engage the community in the law enforcement effort, crime statistics turn around dramatically. This is the lesson Bill Bratton learned then taught. . He demonstrated that community based policing is a proven way to reduce the crime rate while simultaneously reducing the arrest rate..
The imbalance across racial lines can also be seen in communities where “driving while black” is perceived as a reason police choose to pull over some people and not others. This also sometimes also occurs in the reverse when police decide the only reason why a non-minority individual would visit some ethnic neighborhoods is to buy drugs or engage in other criminal activity. Once again, there are a number of studies and statistical reports that support this perception. This is not only reflected on an ethnic basis, it also extends to gender discrimination as well. . Past and current studies have repeatedly found that laws are not enforced equally and racial profiling is one method police use when deciding to make a particular traffic stop or search. Every instance of this further divides our communities and separates the law makers, the polce and the communities they represent. Previous research has identified strong effects of race on the evaluations of police performance. . This research expands on past research by investigating public opinion related to Black treatment by the police.
In conclusion, recent Gallup poll data were examined to determine whether race and ethnicity influenced citizens' views on the treatment of Blacks in comparison to Whites by the police. In addition, the authors examined whether race relations affected citizens' views on the treatment of Blacks by the police. On both fronts, support was found for the influence of these factors. Demographic variables such as age, gender, education, employment status, region, and political ideology were also significantly related to public opinion regarding the perceived treatment of Blacks by the police. After contextualizing these results, the authors discuss the implication of the findings (Gabbidon, Shaun L.Higgins, George E.Mar. 2009).
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Gabbidon, S. L., & Higgins, G. E. (2009, 03). The Role of Race/Ethnicity and Race Relations on Public Opinion Related to the Treatment of Blacks by the Police. Retrieved 06 17, 2012, from https://ehis.ebscohost.com/eds/detail?vid=3&hid=124&sid=b0d8ce3c-65994e1e961c-9e210567fc28@sessionmgr113&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU=#db=a9h&AN=36556459
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The Week. (2012, 03 29). The Trayvon Martin Controversy,Timeline. Retrieved 06 17, 2012, from The Week: http://theweek.com/article/index/226211/the-trayvon-martin-case-a-timeline