History of racism
Outrage over the police mercilessly beating and killing black people in recent years has led to the rise of the black lives matter movement. However, the acts have been happening in most states in the US. As much as black people are trying to find ground among the racists, their lives are always at risk. It seems like their lives get targeted, or they are always on the wrong side of the law. Racism started way back between the Native Americans and European settlers. The United States got industrialized in the 19th century. The development of urban centres and immigration of the Europeans also occurred around the same time.
Racism goes way back to the colonial times when the North American colonies turned to cheaper, more plentiful labour from the enslaved Africans. The first act of slavery began in 1619 when the Dutch ship brought a few Africans to the British colony. It is from then that slavery rapidly grew in the American colonies. From estimates, over seven million people got imported to America during the 18th century, and that deprived Africa, the healthiest and most energetic people in societies.
Since then, there were lots of protests and revolutions which advocated for the rights of the black. However, there were no constitutional rights given to black people for a long time, and that led to the differences between white and black people Babovic´ (2000). This is the first proof of institutional racism. There have been lots of issues on racism, especially in the United States where most of the news in recent years portray the effect in society. Moreover, there is the factor that criminal justice is also racist, making it even hard for the black people who still have no sound regarding their rights.
It is common to see the police pulling over a black man for driving a nice car since they believe that it is practically impossible for them to afford the vehicle. The suspicion of police offers on black people has led to several incidences which have raised concern in the black community (Weir, 2016). The truth is, most people of colour have an experience of police harassment or know someone who does. The main question as posed by Hassett-Walker (2019), still lingers, “do you think the police are implicitly biased against black people?” Most psychology journals dig deep into public consciousness by depicting those acts and how they have affected how we live in the current world.
Police and Institutional Racism
Social media has done a great job in portraying the injustices on black people and institutional racism. Cases of racial discrimination are still evident at many levels of law enforcement from forceful arrests to traffic stops. Weir (2016) asserts that the root of the injustices is still unclear and we can only assume that the law enforcers still have that mind that black people will always be inferior and have no rights. Experts and researchers point these challenges to the biases experienced during colonial times. After all, they were our ancestors, and some people still have that mentality to in continuing their legacy.
When we look at the patterns at which the cases occur, it is clear that it will not end anytime soon. The list of black citizens who are either killed or assaulted by non-black police officers is growing at an alarming rate. Hence, the tension between the police and the black people is increasing as the days go by. Police chiefs know that there is a problem, but people still choose to take a polarized view and demonize the police. There are states which are trying to bring an end to cases such as New Jersey police officers who have to undergo racial classes for the police. In these classes, they learn how to treat all people without discrimination and arrest them based on substantial evidence.
Cases of inequality
There are more than 15,000, law enforcement agencies in the United States, and a lot of data found in various articles focus on the treatment of black people by white officers. This is another proof that there is institutional racism. If we take an example of the national police shooting data from the year 2011 to 2014 in California, the number of black people who have died in the hands of police officers is alarming, and the probability of a black getting shot by police is 3.5 times the probability of their white counterparts.
The sad part is that these black people are always unarmed and ready to surrender, but the cops still apply force and brutality. Moreover, black people are also more likely to be stopped at traffic stops and in some instances, shot over minor issues. In recent years, the police still take a paramilitary approach to enforce law and order hence developing an “us vs them” attitude towards the black people.
There is a lingering question which should be asked to each person. What can be done to reduce implicit bias? The unintended bias has caused a wide rift, especially with the murder cases still on the rise. The latest incident which occurred in Minneapolis involves a 46-year-old man who died after a police officer allegedly choked him with his knee on the neck. It was so unfortunate given that there were people around the area with phones recording the whole incident. How could a normal human being choke someone until they become limp and unconscious?
Some acts are heartless and unjust, and more actions should be taken. The irony is that the police officers involved were only fired with no other action. Had it been a white man being assaulted to death, the law would have been severe for the cop. The case has caused an uproar in social media, and black people are now raising their voices by giving popularity to the black lives matter movement. Further, we can also see how the latest pandemic has killed many African Americans in the United States due to issues like poverty, education, health, socio-economic status, as well as systematic racism. All these factors affect the black people making then vulnerable to diseases. Being black in the United States is a nightmare which is a significant concern.
Babovic´, B. (2000). Police brutality or police torture. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 23(3), 374-380. doi: 10.1108/13639510010343047
Hassett-Walker, C. (2019). The racist roots of American policing: From slave patrols to traffic stops. Retrieved 29 May 2020, from https://theconversation.com/the-racist-roots-of-american-policing-from-slave-patrols-to-traffic-stops-112816
Weir, K. (2016). Policing in black and white. Retrieved 29 May 2020, from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/12/cover-policing