Police Officers And Race And Culture
I understand my race, and I understand my culture. I grew up in this skin, I grew up with family members who had the same kind of skin as me, and I had a lot of friends who had the same kind of skin as me. There are parts of my culture that are positive, that a lot of people do not know about. There are also a lot of negative parts of my culture, that a lot of people think that they know about. My parents made it their personal mission to keep my brothers and I from the negative aspects of our race and culture. However, that did not stop them from educating us about it. That also did not stop them from introducing us to the negative aspects of our race and culture, so that we not were ignorant to why certain people a part of our race act the way that they act.
I am saying all of this to say, if you do not understand a race and its culture, it can be very easy to develop personal feelings and beliefs based off what you hear from the media and other individuals who also do not know much about a particular race and its culture. I strongly believe that that is why police officers tend to target certain races more than others.
During training, police officers are taught about the constitution, state laws, self-defense measures, and a variety of different topics that will properly prepare them for their jobs in the force. However, they do not seem to be trained in one of the most important aspects of their jobs: people. Clearly, they are trained to deal with citizens in a generalized manner. That being said, it doesnt seem like they are trained to deal with people who are different than them. Lets be honest. As a whole, African Americans are different than Caucasians. That is not meant to be a bad thing. They have each have different experiences. A police officer cannot expect an African American to always react the way that a Caucasian person acts. Based on years of negative experience with police officers, their upbringing, education, and were many of them are located African Americans handle things differently than Caucasian people.
Police officers will go into an African American neighborhood, or a Hispanic neighborhood and already be on edge because of the way that it looks and the way that the people look. They also have a history of falsely arresting people of color, making it so that innocent criminals are forced to pay to get bailed out of jail. As an African American woman myself, I am not saying that a lot of these neighborhoods are perfect. There are a lot of issues and even crime in a lot of those neighborhoods. But that doesnt mean that all of the people in them are bad. If police officers understood how African Americans and Hispanics got into those neighborhoods, what they are doing there, how they are trying to get out, why they go to crime in the first place I feel that they would not be on edge so easily, and they would not be so easily enticed to pull the trigger.
Police officers need to be trained on different races and cultures. They have to. You cannot understand something that you do not try to understand. You will simply make incorrect assumptions, and develop unnecessary fears, anxieties, or biases that do not need to be there. Educating ones self is one of the most valuable things a person can do. I promise you that if police officers would educate themselves on the very people that they deal with on a daily basis, there would be a lot more understanding going on, and a lot less pain.