African-American Perception of Police the Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

..'Let there be light..." (Genesis 1:3, NKJV) on this dark subject.


LITERATURE REVIEW all Americans are the prisoners of racial prejudice." - Shirley Chisholm (b. 1924), African-American politician (Columbia, 1996)

2.1: All American Affected.

Racial prejudice, which frequently leads to unfair acts do not just imprison the race receiving the prejudice. As Chisholm notes at the start of this section, racial prejudice imprisons all Americans. The following three synopsis reflect a sampling of information from literature that will be reviewed in the proposed study.

2.2: Considered Contentions

From the Minds of Adolescents

The article, "Gender, Race, and Urban Policing: The Experience of African-American Youths" (Brunson & Miller, 2006) utilizes a survey along with interviews, to examine ways gender influenced youths' experiences with their neighborhood police,

Minority youth participating in this study in present their perspectives regarding issues and relate personal disturbing information on numerous police practices, noted in low-income neighborhoods. From this study conducted in St. Louis, Missouri, beginning in the spring of 1999 and concluding in the spring of 2000., this research notes a number of strategies police use in this area produced a variety of harms to African-Americans in poor communities, consequently contributing to current concern that more attention needs to be invested in regard law enforcement and criminal justice practices. Complaints included African-Americans facing unnecessary stops, unfair treatment, unusual force, occasional deviance and lower amounts of protection. In some police precincts in urban areas, residents in the area contend police actions in these areas prove more negative than actions taken in higher income suburbs; that young, black males are the main focus of many negative assumptions and actions. (Brunson & Miller, 2006) Areas with widespread poverty, noted by this study, frequently appeared to be prime targets for police to search for drug transactions and other negative activities. Brunson & Miller (2006) interview 35 young females and 40 young males, with ages ranging from12 to 19.

From the researchers' interviews, findings indicate 16 of the females and 33 males experienced police harassment. Most adolescent participants reported they knew of someone reportedly victimized by the police. Most individuals reported being personally harassed in the past. Thirty-three young men compared to 16 young women stated they personally experienced unfair activity relating to police. The young men reported that most of the time, they were harassed even if they did not engage in delinquent activities. More female participants were reportedly harassed when they engaged in delinquent activities. This study finds that young men experienced more violence from police, along with youths stressing they are troubled by how often these incidents occurred near their residences. This researcher notes, albeit, several limitations in the effort and questions: How do one know if these young people told the truth regarding personal experiences with unnecessary harassment from various police officers? As individuals experiencing police scrutiny may be mixed with the wrong crowd, especially in rough neighborhoods, were police merely doing what they are supposed to do? Did participants misread police actions? Despite these considerations, this researcher contends this study to contribute credible points worth considering further in the proposed study.

Evaluations of Police Performance

Evaluations of Police Performance in an African-American Sample.American Sample" reports that members of any minority group generally hold less favorable attitudes towards police than do white individuals.

In the study by Priest and Carter (1999), the researcher utilize an analysis which depicts how variables such as age, education, victimization, respondents' opinions of neighborhoods and safety and link to police performance. The researchers purport that the time it takes for police to arrive at a crime scene or attempt to meet the need for assistance persuades African-Americans perceptions about the police. Only half the respondents in this survey, with the average age 42 years old, had completed high school. Approximately 12% reported they or a member of their family had been victimized by a crime. Over two-thirds of participants stated they feared for their safety in the neighborhoods.

Race Considerations

From their review of at least five studies, Priest and Carter (1999) find that minorities hold a more negative attitude towards police authority than do Caucasians. To show the impact of police service and performance in a large city, the researchers constructed their evaluations over a one-month period. Favorable attitudes towards the police surfaced in different areas of town; however, in other areas kindness did not define community response to police. During June and July of 1996, individuals retrieved data for this particular study through a telephone survey, consisting of 373 mostly completed interviews of the Black community in Charlotte, North Carolina. Survey queries focused on various areas of the African-American community and included issues dealing with economics, politics, and society.

Survey participants were at least 18 years old and resided in twenty-two voter precincts throughout the are, which consisted of just over 60% of African-Americans. The surveyed areas ranged from low-income neighborhoods to upper-income areas in the suburbs. (Priest and Carter,1999) Priest and Carter (1999) found out attitudes of citizens towards the police revealed a reasonably ositive attitude.

Of the 366 individuals who responded to the statement "Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are doing a good job," 65.8% gave strongly agree or agree responses. When asked how they feel about the education of their children, however, only a small percentage over 50% of participants strongly agreed. Past perceptions frequently color current contentions, this researcher purports.

These may evolve from individuals not understanding police and/or from laws against Blacks stemming from slave laws prior to the Civil War. In addition, post Civil War, Jim Crow laws until the 1960s portray an ugly picture on numerous laws in society. (Priest and Carter,1999)

The study by Priest and Carter (1999) determined a reasonable relationship exists between participants' evaluations of police response time and evaluations of police overall performance. A number of results in this particular study, however, appear, to conflict somewhat with prior findings on citizen evaluations of the performance of police. Still, this researcher intends to utilize this study in the study to follow this proposal.

Huebner, Schafer, and Bynum (2004), authors/researchers of "African-American and White Perceptions of Police Services: White Perceptions of Police Services: Within- and between-group variation," note that previous research established attitudes toward the police and related variables based on demographics forecasting citizen satisfaction with performance of the police. During the 1960's, numerous political movements negatively, as well as, positively impacted ways society visualized crime issues and justice, as well as, attitudes towards the police. Responses based on "common sense," coupled with evidence, reveal that society as a whole does not possess the same view of police. Perhaps, due to demographic, as well as, areas individuals live in, perceptions regarding police differ. In turn, a number of various models attempt to depict how one particular race may possess a given opinion and another race may have the opposite understanding..

Measuring exactly what areas of the police force may satisfy a group and what area may not, albeit, presents challenges.

Class also presents an inconsistent forecaster of what a particular group will approve of in regard to police and/or legal concerns. (Huebner, Schafer, and Bynum, 2004), Data Huebner, Schafer, and Bynum (2004) utilized in their study evolved from a larger project testing attitudes to crime, safety in public, and the police in a community in the Midwest. The file contains telephone interviews attempted with 2,058 residents from the researched community. All numbers from the community were based on patrol beats; then the numbers were randomly chosen within each beat. At least one hundred interviews were also conducted with individuals over the age of eighteen, and within the various patrol beats. Some variables included different perceptions such as those of global police services, traditional police services, and those of the community. Neighborhood context influences were also listed as some of the variables. Findings indicated that eighty-five percent of the White race and seventy nine percent of Blacks were satisfied or very satisfied with police service in their community. Negative contacts with police influenced White participants more than Blacks. In addition, "neighborhood context influences," also strongly influenced Whites. Positive feelings, however, were linked with a different range of forecasters for Black participants. Older Black individuals and persons who issued a positive opinion of their neighborhood were most likely to proffer positive opinion on global police services. For White individuals, all "neighborhood context influences" were important for the global services outcome. Findings from this study, which this researcher plans to include in the proposed study, reveal that citizen perceptions of local police services need to include a range of independent variables, primarily when local police provide services in a primarily African-American society.

Results from this study purport, this researcher concludes, even though results are not confirmed as completely accurate, that dissatisfaction with police contact contributes to an even role in forming perceptions of services. As the process of illuminating the subject of African-American perception of police moves forward, the following methodology…

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