Police Injustice Towards African-Americans

The History of Violence

The book White Violence and Black Response: From Reconstruction to Montgomery by Herbert Shapiro is a great example of a century-long perspective on the issue of violence towards African-Americans from the White population. For instance, there is a good point of how the II World War has influenced the views of Americans on racial segregation while “the experience of fascism had convincingly demonstrated that there was not an absolute line between a nation’s foreign policy and the structure of its society” (Shapiro, 1988, p. 301).

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Fighting for Civil Rights

Despite the official proclamation of racial equality, there was still the issue of the government trying to take away the civil rights of African-Americans. For instance, Paul Ortiz (2003) mentions a situation where Black communities in Florida organized educational clubs to learn about their right to vote (p. 198). This initiative was taken aggressively by the White administration, and “between 1900 and 1930 Florida suffered the highest per capita lynching rate in America (Ortiz, 2003, p. 199) due to Ku Klux Klan reorganization targeting those educational groups.

Michelle Alexander (2010) describes how the modern African-Americans are stripped from their right to vote by giving the example of a man who “like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole” (p. 1). This is an introduction to controlling minorities by using police forces.

African-American Leadership and Activism

The history of Blacks’ activism features rules where “black people defending themselves against white aggressors represented a threat to the social order” and “slavery was a social relationship grounded in force” (Strain, 2005, p. 9). The objectives of black leadership included “intensive soul searching, ambivalence, and dissension” (Gaines, 1996, p. 3).

Prejudice Background

As identified in the literature, misconceptions arise from the different cultural background of the Black and White population, and “local, state, and federal governments in this country still lag greatly, and political parties still hesitate, in eradicating racial discrimination and other forms of racial oppression” (Feagin, 2006, p. xiii). The book features the difference in perspectives of each racial group. Entman and Rojecki (2000) describe how the mass media shape the popular perceptions of minorities, with “judging from the transcribed years of ABC, the network mainly discusses Blacks as such when they suffer or commit a crime” (p. 67). The book discusses the issues regarding the image of the Black population on TV. The issue of people who deny the existence of racial problems in the country is raised by Bonilla-Silva (2001), who states that they perceive more than half of African-Americans as ones living the American dream (p. 1).

Police Attitude towards African-Americans

Finally, there is an issue of the police acting as the controlling organ for limiting the rights of the Black population in the United States. The Police Brutality: An Anthology features stories of the violent attitude of police forces towards minority representatives, which was dictated by appearance and other racial prejudice (Nelson, 2001). The book also features stories of resistance from Blacks and the necessity of restricting the actions of police officers through policy enforcement and educational practices. Cole (1999) discusses the methods applied by police when performing surveillance in public, for instance, “targets could be selected at random, on the basis of unadulterated hunches, or, more likely, on the basis of unspoken stereotypes and assumptions about the kind of traveler likely to be carrying contraband” (p. 21).

References

Alexander, M. (2010). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York, NY: The New Press.

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Bonilla-Silva, E. (2001). White supremacy and racism in the post-civil rights era. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc.

Cole, D. (1999). No equal justice: Race and class in the American criminal justice system. New York, NY: The New Press.

Entman, R. M., & Rojecki, A. (2000). The black image in the white mind: Media and race in America. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Feagin, J. (2006). Systematic racism: A theory of oppression. New York, NY: Routledge.

Gaines, K. K. (1996). Uplifting the race: Black leadership, politics, and culture in the twentieth century. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

Nelson, J. (2001). Police brutality: An anthology. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.

Ortiz, P. (2003). “Eat your bread without butter, but pay you poll tax!”: Roots of the African American voter registration movement in Florida, 1919-1920. In C. M. Payne & A. Green (Eds.), Time longer than rope: A century of African American activism, 1850-1950 (pp. 196-229). New York, NY: New York University Press.

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Shapiro, H. (1988). White violence and Black response: From Reconstruction to Montgomery. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press.

Strain, C. B. (2005). Pure fire: Self-defense as activism in the civil rights era. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.

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