Today the state of Missouri is facing an extreme problem of the police brutality towards the African American population based on racial discrimination. This can be proved by the case of Michael Brown, which reveals the situation when a black male was shot by the officer (Swaine, “Discrimination in Ferguson” para. 1). Michael Brown lived in Ferguson, Missouri, and robbed a shop there. With his friend, he stole cigarillos and escaped but they were soon blocked by the police officer, Darren Wilson. They started to fight for the gun and then Wilson fired twelve bullets, shooting Michael in the front. The situation attracted the attention of the general public because of the fact that the man was unarmed and had his hands up. Still, while the case was investigated, new witnesses were found, and the court came up to the conclusion that the police officer shot Brown trying to defend himself.
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Correl et al. believe that white police officers tend to occur in such situations as they feel a threat of African American individuals (1103). Swaine’s articles in the daily newspaper reveal this issue in the framework of Missouri. It seems to be outrageous but about 95% of all individuals who were put behind the bars for more than 48 hours are black. African-American drivers are stopped more than twice as often as European Americans even without reasonable suspicion (“Discrimination in Ferguson” para. 20). Black people’s rights are often violated, and they are arrested for petty offenses without any decent justifications (“Ferguson mired in sweeping racial discrimination” para. 16).
Such situations influence the state of society adversely. People face physical and psychological problems as they experience or/and witness crimes. They also become distracted and separated from one another. The community turns into a number of groups that unite people with the same views, backgrounds, or occupations. People forget about solidarity and do not care about each other. They live on the same territory unwillingly and forget about the sense of community, which means that there is no mutual help.
Police brutality is based on racial discrimination, which harms society. It can be caused by the stereotypes about African Americans. For many years, black people were claimed to be criminals, and the general public got used to such belief. The media promotes prejudiced views and imposes them.
Moreover, the police and society create a toxic environment, which increases the gap between populations. Children are taught to keep away from blacks and distrust them. They are even impelled to live separately, pushing African Americans to black districts.
Thus, discrimination of white police on black is a critical issue that influences not only the lives of separate individuals but the whole society adversely. It is caused by the stereotypes that came from the past and are still imposed by the media and the toxic environment created by people.
Causes of Discrimination
The police brutality towards the African American population is a social problem that is based on racial discrimination. It is often caused by the stereotypes both the police officers and the representatives of the general public have. They bias the decision to shoot that is made by the police regardless of the fact whether the person is armed or unarmed. Cultural stereotypes made people have prejudiced views. Many believe that African Americans are those who are poor, athletic, and extremely dangerous. Blacks are often linked to danger, which determines people’s actions towards them.
The research conducted by Correl et al. showed that many white individuals are sure that African Americans are more aggressive and apt to commit violations (1103). Reading news, the representatives of the general public tend to believe that blacks are guilty of the committed crimes more often than whites. Such views are imposed by the media on an everyday basis. Very often villains in movies are African American individuals while their victims are European Americans. Except for that, the most severe crimes are mainly showed in the black districts between the gangs that sell drugs and weapons. Such pictures are subconsciously associated with situations in real life, which determines people’s beliefs and makes stereotypes even more influential.
Biased views of the police officers towards blacks and discrimination on them are often caused by the environment, in which all people are brought up. As it turned out, Missouri is a state where people are taught to treat one another in different ways. From one generation to another, parents taught their children to act in a particular way. They impose personal ideas and attitudes into their kids’ minds, making them act accordingly. For example, when a mother says not to play near the home where African American lives, she makes a child believe that something is wrong with this person and others who look like one.
Police officers arrest blacks with no decent reasons but seeing that they are put behind the bars, society starts to be afraid of them (Swaine, “Discrimination in Ferguson” para. 4). The sense of mistrust and resentment is spread by the division of territory with the separation of the one where African Americans live. These people are treated as strangers who came for a visit instead of being equal, as the Fourteenth Amendment states. Some white Americans tend to believe in their supremacy, which they had before the abolition of slavery because the memory of several generations cannot be erased in a moment.
Correll, Joshua, Bernadette Park, Charles Judd, and Bernd Wittenbrink. “The influence of Stereotypes on Decisions to Shoot.” European Journal of Social Psychology 37.6 (2007): 1102-1117. Print.
Swaine, Jon. Discrimination in Ferguson. 2015.