Police Stereotypes

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Names like Dontre Hamilton, Michael Brown Jr., Tamir Rice and Walter Scott are plastered on headlines and passionately spoken about on every major news station around the country. They are the names that paved way for the national discussion of police brutality against African Americans. And while these victims of horrific actions deserved much better outcomes than they got, the violence demonstrated by police officers is clearly a product of the social environment in which they parole and the racial stereotypes and discrimination that are deeply embedded in our culture. Police officers have an obligation to maintain order and protect us: the citizens of society. Some explanations for their discriminatory behavior focus on the individual, such as personal beliefs (stereotypes) and previous encounters and/or experiences. And, as a result of their authority, these officers have the freedom to do what they desire without the interference of others, allowing them to act individualistically. However, by investigating not only the individual, but the relationship between police officers and the social structures which confine them, the seemingly black and white decision to use extra-legal aggression becomes more convoluted. Joshua Correll, a …show more content…

And as the perceived differences between groups continue to grow, in-group favoritism and out-group hostility arise and stereotypes and discrimination take hold. The process of stereotyping serves as a heuristic, or mental shortcut, that allows us to conserve “mental resources” (Holmes & Smith 2012) and guides our interactions with individuals. For example, Dr. Harry Alpert (2007) found that racial minorities were more likely to be under surveillance and searched during traffic stops than whites (Higgins et. al. 2011). Differential treatment by police officers is common and it is maintained in our society to unfairly work in favor of the white

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