“The stereotype of blacks as hostile, dangerous and criminal is one of the strongest stereotypes in American society.” JENNIFER EBERHARDT says in PBS’ news hours about the news topic of racial profiling in Oakland California which affects law enforcement in this area, and it’s just a miniature of a whole society.
Nowadays cops intend to put their eyes on certain races that they assume are going to commit crimes. Oscar Grant was shot by police in Oakland bart station back in 2009 new year while he was unarmed, along with Trayvon Martin, a African American teenage who was shot by Zimmerman who claimed self-defense and said Trayvon was acting suspiciously while he was just walking in his own neighborhood in 2012. Many more instances to go, along with Michael Brown in Ferguson with similar explanation from the police’s side that people are not accepting anymore.
A white TV station interviewed Michael Brown’s parents and asked an insensitive question “what do you think while Williams (the police who shot Brown) describes your son as evil and demon while he shot him and claimed he is self-defense?” When the law enforcement puts their racial bias on African Americans, and the whole media team helps put some salt on people’s wound by emphasizing the portrait of their images as “evil”? and right when those parent just lost their son? The whole society reinforces certain racial biases with negative image and thanks to the media, we get the message.
The aftermath of this police killings causes many protest going on in lots of cities including big city like NYC. The citizen protest puts the attention on police culture with their racial profiling and brutality on certain ethnical group of people.
There’s one video showing cops with racial stereotypes were arresting an African American who was waiting for his kids in St Paul, Minnesota. This is the video along with the article.
“Categorization has an evolutionary purpose: Assuming that all mushrooms are poisonous, that all lions want to eat you, is a very effective way of coping with your surroundings. Forget being nuanced about nonpoisonous mushrooms and occasionally nonhungry lions—certitude keeps you safe.” According to the article The Science of Why Cops shoot young black men.
Obama required police to wear body camera, but does it help? What should be changed is in people’s mind. Their mind set of setting stereotypes on certain group of people. When there were small amount of people maybe in the same group committed crimes, and they automatically assume all of them within the same group will do the same thing. The rate, African American teenagers get cops approaching and starting to suspect them doing something bad, is a lot higher than any other racial people getting the same treatment.
The consequence of having racial biases is many of the innocent people who had nothing to do with crimes died by their physical appearance and by the ignorance of cops while they are too chicken to face an image they are afraid of (but indeed has nothing to be afraid of), and plus the fact that they carry weapons while the innocent people have none.
The police culture is sad and if they don’t know how to control their fear with the unnecessary but negative portrait of certain ethnical people, and if they don’t get rid of their bias towards the same group, the protest, the regular citizen, who are believing in a free and equal society won’t give them a peace of mind. If the tension goes on, the police will not feel ease while all the instances become a routine and it has to stop.
“I think people are feeling vulnerable in different ways on both sides. I mean, you have community members who feel vulnerable around the police. And then there’s a vulnerability on the police side, where, when something happens in Ferguson or anywhere in the country, police departments all over the nation feel it.” EBERHARDT mentioned in the PBS hours, and I get it. However, if the police side had showed some respect to people who had nothing to do with crimes, without carrying their own racial biases and embedding their mind with negative racial portrait with certain people, the tension and nervousness and hatred wouldn’t have gone up at the first place.