Law Enforcement Reform Thread (formerly Defund the Police) (1 Viewer)

Users who are viewing this thread

    First Time Poster

    Well-known member
    Joined
    Nov 8, 2019
    Messages
    278
    Reaction score
    1,422
    Age
    42
    Location
    Louisiana, Georgia, Texas
    Offline
    So I got busy the other day with the intention to revisit this topic and answer some of the responses put forward but I realized the thread was deleted. But, I felt we had good dialogue happening before I left so I wanted to restart the topic to get the conversation going again. We started some dialogue about it on the liberal board but I feel this topic transcends party lines so I'm making a MCB thread. Post #2, or my next post, is the post I made on the liberal board when asked to elaborate how I felt.
     
    Is this how arrest are made??? A person obviously complying with all commands, still being threaten with bodily harm by the arresting officers.

     
    I am not trying to defend police action - it shold be clear in this thread that I think there are very serious problems with no-knock ewarrants, and in fact there are serious problems with warrants of homes themselves.
    But if the evidence for racism in the Taylor case is "Dsiproportionality" (which is the only thing I have seen raised, perhaps I have missed others) then I think that is rather easily exaplined away - on the policing end - by the disproportionality of violent crime and perhaps crime in general. Or even the concentration of crime.
    I am open to something that suggests that is not true. But it seems to me that the historical realities of black Americans - mainly racism - have put black communities at higher risk of criminality. Which to me exaplins more of the focus (even if that focus is misplaced for the reasons you are giving).

    So, I think there are a couple of things to address here. First the notion of concentration of crime. I'm not entirely sure, but it is probable, that violent crime is concentrated in minority dominated areas, however, crime in general is not. I think there have been a number of studies that show crime is pretty evenly spread across races and wealth groups. It's just that rich people commit rich people crimes (fraud, etc), and we don't have cops randomly stopping people and searching their laptops.

    Second, the notion of what is a crime is not necessarily tied to harm. I mentioned wage theft earlier (where an employer intentionally under pays an employee, denied overtime, and so on) is not a crime, it's dealt with as a civil matter. But the amount of financial harm is significantly higher than theft.

    The harder point to prove is everything else being equal whether cops treat black Americans harsher than white Americans. I don't think data is kept to do that kind of analysis... ie (number of stops for a traffic violation resulting in searches, detentions, etc broken down by race). I think that would be interesting. So instead we are left a bit with perceptions. I know that there have been studies about how schools discipline minority students vs. white students for the same infraction which shows that minority students face harsher penalties. So there's a bit of extrapolation off of that.

    It's hard when dealing with perceptions because they are built up over a long period of time. I don't think anyone will deny that within living memory policing was not done equally right? So, even if it's close now, perceptions last a long time.

    I am not sure that is true. Prevention might be overstated, but you can look at places where crime has decreased and sometimes its clear that police practice have played a role in that decrease. Sometimes those practices are controversial, but they have some degree of effect on reducing crime.

    Sorry, I exaggerated their purpose not their effect. Obviously police can eliminate crime by just arresting everyone. Or total surveillance. Etc. Police states are very effective. I was talking more about what their purpose is... You probably know this better than I do, but I believe there have been court rulings that said that police are not responsible for preventing crimes.

    Also, I think the matter of effects of tougher crime policies is not super clear cut. Most of what I've seen also occur during improving economies, so it's not clear if the drop in crime is related to the change in policing or improvement of the general economy. Freakonomics made the case that the drop in crime in the 90's wasn't due to the Broken Windows policy was due to Roe v. Wade (note I'm not saying that's accurate, just the difficulty of causation vs. correlation).

    Again, I think I have been very clear with pointing out problems with police power. The problem is that I don't get the idea that the Taylor case was an example of racist police or that the disproportionality (EDIT : at the rate given above, certainly some level of disproportionality would strike me as evidence) of police practices is evidence of racism.

    I think that's fair enough.
     
    So, I think there are a couple of things to address here. First the notion of concentration of crime. I'm not entirely sure, but it is probable, that violent crime is concentrated in minority dominated areas, however, crime in general is not. I think there have been a number of studies that show crime is pretty evenly spread across races and wealth groups. It's just that rich people commit rich people crimes (fraud, etc), and we don't have cops randomly stopping people and searching their laptops.

    That is interesting. So the idea is that things like poverty, lack of educational access, unemployment and poor job prospects are perhaps tied to violent crime but not crime in general? So poverty stricken, rural, uneducated whites do not commit violent crime at the rate poverty stricken, urban, uneducated blacks do? And rich whites commit crime at the same rate as all poor people? I don't think I buy that, but it is an interesting thought.


    Second, the notion of what is a crime is not necessarily tied to harm. I mentioned wage theft earlier (where an employer intentionally under pays an employee, denied overtime, and so on) is not a crime, it's dealt with as a civil matter. But the amount of financial harm is significantly higher than theft.

    Speaking solely about an area I am familar with, although I think it is probably true elsewhere: I feel confident in saying that one of the most rampant drug use and sale area in Nashville is Vanderbilt University - a fairly prestigious school that skews white. But - there is no daily or weekly gunfire reported in the dorms, there are not murders there each week, there aren't;t multiple armed robberies every other day in the areas surrounding the university, etc. in the way there are in a small number of predominantly black and poor areas where police patrol.
    Likewise, I doubt neighbors are concerned to call the police if someone next door is embezzling from a corporation - at least not in the same way they would be if drug dealers were accosting their kid or there was gunfire coming from the neighbors house.

    The harder point to prove is everything else being equal whether cops treat black Americans harsher than white Americans. I don't think data is kept to do that kind of analysis... ie (number of stops for a traffic violation resulting in searches, detentions, etc broken down by race). I think that would be interesting. So instead we are left a bit with perceptions. I know that there have been studies about how schools discipline minority students vs. white students for the same infraction which shows that minority students face harsher penalties. So there's a bit of extrapolation off of that.

    It's hard when dealing with perceptions because they are built up over a long period of time. I don't think anyone will deny that within living memory policing was not done equally right? So, even if it's close now, perceptions last a long time.
    I agree. I just think absent an actual showing of racism the idea that any time bad policing affects blacks is a sign of racism is ill-founded. In fact, my best spin on "Defund the Police" is that police are put in a lot of no-win situations due to problems like the economic and social effects of racism, that are not their causing yet they are blamed for it. So let's pull police back in some areas and find alternative means to address some of these underlying causes of violence, crime, etc.
     
    That is interesting. So the idea is that things like poverty, lack of educational access, unemployment and poor job prospects are perhaps tied to violent crime but not crime in general? So poverty stricken, rural, uneducated whites do not commit violent crime at the rate poverty stricken, urban, uneducated blacks do? And rich whites commit crime at the same rate as all poor people? I don't think I buy that, but it is an interesting thought.

    There are two things - one a clarification and one a correction. I did not mean to imply that poor urban black areas commit more violent crime than poor rural white areas. I was trying to compare the types of crime based on economic levels not racial levels. I'm pretty sure that race is not a significant factor in violent crime. Ie, a poor uneducated white person is statistically as likely to be a violent criminal as a poor uneducated black person.

    The correction is I don't think rich people commit crime as frequently as poor people, but the total dollar value is higher. So, if you're trying to prevent some type of property harm, you'd have higher yield investigating rich people (they're fewer rich people and the crimes they commit have a higher dollar value than poor people crime).



    Speaking solely about an area I am familar with, although I think it is probably true elsewhere: I feel confident in saying that one of the most rampant drug use and sale area in Nashville is Vanderbilt University - a fairly prestigious school that skews white. But - there is no daily or weekly gunfire reported in the dorms, there are not murders there each week, there aren't;t multiple armed robberies every other day in the areas surrounding the university, etc. in the way there are in a small number of predominantly black and poor areas where police patrol.
    Likewise, I doubt neighbors are concerned to call the police if someone next door is embezzling from a corporation - at least not in the same way they would be if drug dealers were accosting their kid or there was gunfire coming from the neighbors house.

    Right, but what is the probability that a random person stopped in one of those poor black areas where police patrol is actually a violent criminal weighted against the probability that they have some sort of drugs. In other words, what is the probability that black people in poor areas arrested for drug possession would actually be a violent criminal. If it's not very high - then the net effect is that black people are being arrested at higher rates (and thus subjected to harsher police treatment) for behavior that is just as common in white areas not subjected to that treatment (affluent college students).

    I agree. I just think absent an actual showing of racism the idea that any time bad policing affects blacks is a sign of racism is ill-founded. In fact, my best spin on "Defund the Police" is that police are put in a lot of no-win situations due to problems like the economic and social effects of racism, that are not their causing yet they are blamed for it. So let's pull police back in some areas and find alternative means to address some of these underlying causes of violence, crime, etc.

    I've mentioned a number of times that I think it's not appropriate to blame the police for this - they are doing what we've asked them to do. The blame rests on a system that has built up over years that results in unequal treatment. I wouldn't cast any of my opinions as anti-police. I'd like to make their lives easier by taking away the responsibility of believing they are what separates us from chaos. It's unnecessary pressure.

    I agree with your last statement. I think a lot of this can be helped by strengthening our commitment to the 4th amendment, a very clear use of force policy that favors de-escalation, and more community measures to address root causes of violent crime. There's a data analyst that breaks this down and basically, these sorts of policies results in fewer police brutality complaints (including fewer deaths at the hands of police) AND fewer injuries and deaths of police officers.
     
    @JimEverett - I think justifying (which is what it appears your posts are doing), greater scrutiny (ie - more intrusive policing, stopping, searching, etc) on black Americans because cops are patrolling "high crime" areas that more likely populated by minorities, kind of misuses statistics.

    It's based on the notion that if a cop is going to prevent some sort of future crime they are justified in stopping a black American because black Americans are more likely to commit violent crime (which is the distinction I think you made). However, the probability that any particular black American is likely to commit a violent crime is ridiculously low. I'd have to go back and look up the statistics, but it's well under 1% of the population has ever been convicted of a violent crime. Even when you control it for black Americans in "high crime" areas, the percentage that are likely to commit a violent crime is very, very low. That's the statistic that should be focused on when selecting police tactics, correct? The probability that any individual (black or white really) is a violent criminal is very, very, very low. So absent any sort of hard data (positive id of a suspect or cop personally witnessing a violent attack) or so on, the proper police tactic should not be highly intrusive and antagonistic, correct?

    I think there's a notion that cops exist to prevent crime. This is a fairy tale that has been perpetuated in popular culture and media. They don't. Police are there to arrest people after they have committed a crime. But because we've fed this myth, I think it leads to this idea that cops believe they are responsible for seeking out future criminals even if they don't observe any obvious criminal activity - relying on their "instincts", which is a terrible idea.

    I really don't understand conservative reluctance to limit the power of the government on this issue. It's much more direct and intrusive than many other policies they object to. Cops have the power to suspend our rights, shouldn't conservatives be first in line in trying to defend the individual against the power of the state?

    do you have statics on police brutality and murders. I wonder if similar to your statistics of less than 1%, if it would be similar with what we consider bad police?
     
    do you have statics on police brutality and murders. I wonder if similar to your statistics of less than 1%, if it would be similar with what we consider bad police?

    For police killings it's also incredibly small.

    I don't have good numbers on police brutality, and that is also an area that is hard to aggregate the numbers. Do you go by complaints? Are you confident that everything gets reported, and is everything that is reported actually poor policing?

    In my later response to @JimEverett, I think police are mostly doing what society asks them to do - but that's actually the problem. We have a history as a society of not applying the law equally, and that has built up a huge amount of distrust over the years, and we have not actively tried to repair that trust. We are also asking police to pre-emptively stop future criminals by stopping people and arresting them for crimes that most people don't really care about (ie, most people don't care if a guy has a couple of joints in their pocket), but we're arresting them b/c supposedly they are more likely to commit violent crime (which we do care about). That results in an unequal enforcement of the law.
     
    For police killings it's also incredibly small.

    I don't have good numbers on police brutality, and that is also an area that is hard to aggregate the numbers. Do you go by complaints? Are you confident that everything gets reported, and is everything that is reported actually poor policing?

    In my later response to @JimEverett, I think police are mostly doing what society asks them to do - but that's actually the problem. We have a history as a society of not applying the law equally, and that has built up a huge amount of distrust over the years, and we have not actively tried to repair that trust. We are also asking police to pre-emptively stop future criminals by stopping people and arresting them for crimes that most people don't really care about (ie, most people don't care if a guy has a couple of joints in their pocket), but we're arresting them b/c supposedly they are more likely to commit violent crime (which we do care about). That results in an unequal enforcement of the law.

    i think you have to be careful going by complaints because if someone files a complaint against an officer then it just goes on their record. It’s not investigated to see if true or not. I think I posted before that my brother is a cop. In 10 years he’s had like 12 complaints and none are accurate. For instance he broke up a fight between a husband and wife. This dude was beating the crap out of her so he broke it up and arrested the husband. The wife got mad atmy brotherfor arresting her husband and filed a complaint saying my brother pushed her to the ground. She fell down when my brother pulled her husband off of her. There needs to be a better way of following up on complaints but they are already short handed
     
    i think you have to be careful going by complaints because if someone files a complaint against an officer then it just goes on their record. It’s not investigated to see if true or not. I think I posted before that my brother is a cop. In 10 years he’s had like 12 complaints and none are accurate. For instance he broke up a fight between a husband and wife. This dude was beating the crap out of her so he broke it up and arrested the husband. The wife got mad atmy brotherfor arresting her husband and filed a complaint saying my brother pushed her to the ground. She fell down when my brother pulled her husband off of her. There needs to be a better way of following up on complaints but they are already short handed

    Right, that's where I was going when I said " Are you confident that everything gets reported, and is everything that is reported actually poor policing? "
     
    So, there are communities where police are taught de-escalation tactics and expected to control a situation without resorting to violence. And it is evident that there are departments where that is not emphasized like it should be. I think the federal government can play a role in recognizing when there is a problem, and providing incentives to fix the issues.

    I have a close relative in the police, and when I see some of these videos, I cannot believe what I am seeing. I don’t think his department would tolerate some of this behavior.

    Body cams are actually a good policeman’s best friend. When something bad happens and they are turned off, it’s right to be skeptical, imo.
     
    But if the evidence for racism in the Taylor case is "Dsiproportionality" (which is the only thing I have seen raised, perhaps I have missed others) then I think that is rather easily exaplined away -

    Yes, you have missed others, then. Because this takeaway isn't at all reflective of all I've said over the years. And - just to be clear - I'm not blaming you, again (I meant it last time, but it wasn't taken that way by the initial response, so maybe this one will fare better).

    I am not someone who is a statistical reductivist. And I don't think I ever have been.

    In fact, I would say that the other side (whatever constitutes it) is more reliant on this than I am. Exponentially so. The primary 'data' point that is raised in contradiction to the arguments of systemic racism is a % of blacks shot and killed by cops while having to disregard per capita (because then the number is 400% higher)

    I don't see much more than that.

    I don't rely on a single statistic. And I don't make the extreme claims like you alleged above (and didn't acknowledge or take back, incidentally, when I explained you were mistaken in what I said and I clarified - it simple got brushed aside with 'anecdotal evidence aside').

    I look at a *lot* of other dynamics.

    I've worked with cops, but I can't get into the nitty gritty of all police work. I've worked with judges, but I don't adjudicate. I've worked with lawyers, but I don't prosecute or defend. I've worked with prison staff, therapists, counselors, prison administration, etc. But I don't do their jobs either.

    I wouldn't presume to tell them everything they need to know and do about their jobs - any of them. But I can point out things that their areas of work intersect with ideas about how to make it better.

    Like, being asked by police officers to intercede between them and youth because they couldn't get through. Or being asked to consult by a state and province to gather data on things as simple as, "We're talking to our juvenile detainees, but we don't know what to talk about or what questions to ask or how to collate the data."

    None of that is strictly quantitative work. In fact, it's mostly qualitative and cannot be distilled into a bulleted data point.

    But I'll close with an example that speaks, I think, directly to you're point.

    What do you know about Ehrlichmann and Nixon's policies toward criminalizing blacks in the 1970s?

    That they identified black power as a threat to their authority and sought to undermine it? And that the way they did it was through the 'drug war'? That they knowingly - admittedly - made up lies to make this connection. An explicitly racist connection. And then they created policies and procedures to go into these communities and turn the association of blacks with a burgeoning political power into a metonymical association with violent crime and drugs?

    And it worked.

    And you can draw a pretty straight line from there through the Drug War in the 80s to Willie Horton to three strikes and mass incarceration to where we are today.

    There are stats to back all of that up, but it's not *just* stats.

    It is, absolutely and demonstrably policy. Racist policies that were created for the image of the violent black criminal.

    I don't know how you can come away from that, as one example, and think that there isn't a racist underpinning to policing procedures, legislation, sentencing, and so on.

    So to suggest that the only argument I (or others) am proposing is strictly one of statistical disproportion is incorrect.
     
    That is interesting. So the idea is that things like poverty, lack of educational access, unemployment and poor job prospects are perhaps tied to violent crime but not crime in general? So poverty stricken, rural, uneducated whites do not commit violent crime at the rate poverty stricken, urban, uneducated blacks do? And rich whites commit crime at the same rate as all poor people? I don't think I buy that, but it is an interesting thought.

    poverty stricken, rural, uneducated whites do not commit violent crime at the rate poverty stricken, urban, uneducated blacks do? Are you certain? I said earlier, I grant you shootings based on the data we have. But sexual assault? Domestic abuse? Child abuse? Non-shooting violence, like aggravated assault?

    What is that based on? What are the per capita rates of all violent crime? Including the least- and non-reported crimes. You seem more certain in your statistical conclusion than I would ever be.

    And I have never argued that things like population density don't contribute to levels of crime, but, as you say, it's part of the policy to compartmentalize blacks in segregated areas of the city and then policing follows that segregation.


    Speaking solely about an area I am familar with, although I think it is probably true elsewhere: I feel confident in saying that one of the most rampant drug use and sale area in Nashville is Vanderbilt University - a fairly prestigious school that skews white. But - there is no daily or weekly gunfire reported in the dorms, there are not murders there each week, there aren't;t multiple armed robberies every other day in the areas surrounding the university, etc. in the way there are in a small number of predominantly black and poor areas where police patrol.

    if it's anything like LSU, I know a lot of people who used to go north of the gates on the north end of campus to get their drugs. From the areas like you're talking about. But the cops were in those neighborhoods, not on campus where the buyers and users also were.

    Likewise, I doubt neighbors are concerned to call the police if someone next door is embezzling from a corporation - at least not in the same way they would be if drug dealers were accosting their kid or there was gunfire coming from the neighbors house.

    but again, rates of spousal/partner abuse? Child abuse? Sexual assault?

    These things happen on a scale much higher than shootings and murder. I can guarantee you that if cops were to patrol other neighborhoods, they'll find cases of this. It's so incredibly underreported that statistical conclusions of certainty can't be drawn, but it's not uncommon.

    I don't know why "violent crime" keeps excluding these. Just say "shootings" if that's what you mean.


    In fact, my best spin on "Defund the Police" is that police are put in a lot of no-win situations due to problems like the economic and social effects of racism, that are not their causing yet they are blamed for it. So let's pull police back in some areas and find alternative means to address some of these underlying causes of violence, crime, etc.

    I agree 100%. In fact, I think most of the work I've done in this particular area is about these things. Just yesterday, I was talking - when asked about how would I fix it - and I suggested school zoning and school funding equitability and after-school and summer programs. Getting help for these kids early.

    Very *little* of what I do is being critical of police and policing procedures.
     
    I wanted to single this part out:

    I agree. I just think absent an actual showing of racism the idea that any time bad policing affects blacks is a sign of racism is ill-founded.

    *NOBODY* here has said - certainly not me - that "any time bad policing affects blacks is a sign of racism"

    That's not a fair characterization. And I'm happy to talk about it, but this is like three positions of extremity you've made that do not, at all, capture what I've said, here or over the years. I can't speak for anyone else, but this is not even close to anything I've said or believed.
     
    There are two things - one a clarification and one a correction. I did not mean to imply that poor urban black areas commit more violent crime than poor rural white areas. I was trying to compare the types of crime based on economic levels not racial levels. I'm pretty sure that race is not a significant factor in violent crime. Ie, a poor uneducated white person is statistically as likely to be a violent criminal as a poor uneducated black person.

    there is some research on looking at these correlations. My information is dated from back when I was doing the research more actively. But there were a few critical pieces of research from 2011 and 2012 that looked at this (the 2012 piece was based on work first done in 03).

    I won't bore you with the bibliography.

    Anyway, they looked at gaps between ethnicities (black, white, hispanic) for poorer populations and they didn't find some gaps in occurence, but said they were looking at shootings and homicide. Beyond that, the gaps were tougher to calculate. And when it comes to shooting and homicides, I don't think there's any argument against that.

    THe second article took a look at rural white poverty and they took a model for analyzing data from urban, black, poor communities and they found four of five factors (elements they call 'social disorganization' that influence violent crime by youth) that were shared between the urban, poor, black and rural, poor, white:

    1. residential instability
    2. ethnic heterogeneity
    3. female heads of household
    4. population at risk (which also included density)

    Of these, only one was found to be positive - the female head of household. There are more fathers present in the homes of rural, poor, whites. This, of course, is also a byproduct of mass incarceration.

    Anyway, they were trying to reproduce earlier work that suggested none of the above factored into violent crime by rural, white youth (which an earlier study pointed out) and they found these to be more comparable influences on similarity in violent crime by youth.

    This, for me, highlights two points: (1) the research in this field is difficult and requires quantitative and qualitative rigor in methodology as well as the need to expand our understanding of what contributes to youth violent crime and (2) the elements that are shared by populations have more to do with violent crime than skin color.
     
    Right, that's where I was going when I said " Are you confident that everything gets reported, and is everything that is reported actually poor policing? "

    going with the belief that everything - or even most things - that are reported are reflective of reality (across that spectrum) is probably Myth 1 needing busting.

    The field, when it comes to statistical analysis, is as volatile as anything else I've come across. It can be very hard - which is part of the reason why, I think, I was more drawn to the qualitative and then the qualitative when it came to my own methodological comfort
     
    I think police are mostly doing what society asks them to do - but that's actually the problem. We have a history as a society of not applying the law equally, and that has built up a huge amount of distrust over the years, and we have not actively tried to repair that trust.

    I think this is exceptionally well stated. More concise and poignant than any of my ramblings.

    I think a lot of what cops are asked to do is unfair - I've talked, for example, about their being asked to be counselors for people with health problems in crisis situations. No. They shouldn't do that. Cops I've talked to don't want to do that.

    The other side of that is "Why do we ask them to do that?"

    Part of the answer to that question is driven by the people who clout and power. Who does? Politicians. And powerful constituents. Politicians can be 'tough on crime' and imprison a bunch of black people, because more powerful white people in nicer neighborhoods ask them to do that. And why do they ask? The media has been an incredibly influential arm.

    Studies in the 80s detail how powerful local news coverage was in this regard. They will have a crime reporting segment and it was often a black assailant. Commercials and movies who include blacks as villains, criminals, robbers. It's just a latter day variation on the black man coming to rape innocent white women in Birth of a Nation.

    Those images, when we are bombarded with them for decades, begin to shape public conscisousness. And the association of black man as threat is a helluva older than television. The history behind this is long and nefarious. It has shaped laws and it's shaped what 'we' ask cops to do. To make us safe. And politicians are all too happy to accommodate in statistically flat, often racist or racially involved ways.

    I don't expect anyone to read these, but I'll list some of the works that do a good job of explaining how geographically removed white people make decisions about black people based on media depictions - and how they can anesthetize viewers, decreasing their capacity for empathy for an Other.

    The Culture of Punishment: Prison, Society, and Spectacle by Michelle Brown

    "America is the most punitive nation in the world, incarcerating more than 2.3 million people—or one in 136 of its residents. Against the backdrop of this unprecedented mass imprisonment, punishment permeates everyday life, carrying with it complex cultural meanings. In The Culture of Punishment, Michelle Brown goes beyond prison gates and into the routine and popular engagements of everyday life, showing that those of us most distanced from the practice of punishment tend to be particularly harsh in our judgments.

    The Culture of Punishment takes readers on a tour of the sites where culture and punishment meet—television shows, movies, prison tourism, and post 9/11 new war prisons—demonstrating that because incarceration affects people along distinct race and class lines, it is only a privileged group of citizens who are removed from the experience of incarceration. These penal spectators, who often sanction the infliction of pain from a distance, risk overlooking the reasons for democratic oversight of the project of punishment and, more broadly, justifications for the prohibition of pain."

    "The Racial and Ethnic Typification of Crime and the Criminal Typification of Race and Ethnicity in Local Television News"

    Local news programming from three television stations in Orlando, Florida was analyzed for racial and ethnic content in relation to crime. The data show that Blacks are not overrepresented among TV news suspects relative to their proportion in the population or among those arrested in Orlando. Hispanics are slightly overrepresented in relation to their numbers in the population. Qualitatively, Blacks and especially Hispanics who appear as crime suspects do so in more threatening contexts than Whites. Blacks are more likely to appear as criminal suspects than as victims or positive role models, but this pattern is especially amplified for Hispanics. These results suggest that local TV news may contribute to the social construction of threat in relation to Blacks and Hispanics, a condition that is associated with fear of crime, “modern racism,” and the mobilization of various social controls and exclusions.

    Race and the misrepresentation of victimization on local television news

    A content analysis of a random sample of television news aired in Los Angeles and Orange Counties was undertaken to assess representations of Whites, Blacks, and Latinos as crime victims. Intergroup comparisons (Black vs. White and Latino vs. White) revealed that Whites are more likely than African Americans and Latinos to be portrayed as victims of crime on television news. Interrole comparisons (perpetrator vs. victim) revealed that Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be portrayed as lawbreakers than as crime victims, whereas the reverse is true of Whites. Interreality comparisons (television news vs. crime reports) revealed that Whites are overrepresented, Latinos are underrepresented, and Blacks are neither overrepresented nor underrepresented as homicide victims on television news compared to crime reports. Conversely, African Americans are overrepresented, Latinos are underrepresented, and Caucasians are neither overrepresented nor underrepresented as perpetrators on television news. Whites appear to be overrepresented as victims, whereas Blacks are relegated to roles as perpetrators and Latinos are largely absent on television news. The theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.


    I could go on, but the point is that the impact of the images we see, the depictions we absorb have a really considerable impact in how we come to 'know' other people - removed from us.

    And when we talk about making our cities safer, well, we turn to the things we imagine and believe are the existential threat(s) and without knowing any better or more, this is what we default to.

    If you want to get into the trippier, abstract stuff, try Derrida's Echographies of Television.

    In this important new book, Jacques Derrida talks with Bernard Stiegler about the effect of teletechnologies on our philosophical and political moment. Improvising before a camera, the two philosophers are confronted by the very technologies they discuss and so are forced to address all the more directly the urgent questions that they raise. What does it mean to speak of the present in a situation of "live" recording? How can we respond, responsibly, to a question when we know that the so-called "natural" conditions of expression, discussion, reflection, and deliberation have been breached?
    As Derrida and Stiegler discuss the role of teletechnologies in modern society, the political implications of Derrida's thought become apparent. Drawing on recent events in Europe, Derrida and Stiegler explore the impact of television and the internet on our understanding of the state, its borders and citizenship. Their discussion examines the relationship between the juridical and the technical, and it shows how new technologies for manipulating and transmitting images have influenced our notions of democracy, history and the body. The book opens with a shorter interview with Derrida on the news media, and closes with a provocative essay by Stiegler on the epistemology of digital photography.
     
    There are two things - one a clarification and one a correction. I did not mean to imply that poor urban black areas commit more violent crime than poor rural white areas. I was trying to compare the types of crime based on economic levels not racial levels. I'm pretty sure that race is not a significant factor in violent crime. Ie, a poor uneducated white person is statistically as likely to be a violent criminal as a poor uneducated black person.
    So the historical (and current) effects of racism are not causal factors of violent crime?

    The correction is I don't think rich people commit crime as frequently as poor people, but the total dollar value is higher. So, if you're trying to prevent some type of property harm, you'd have higher yield investigating rich people (they're fewer rich people and the crimes they commit have a higher dollar value than poor people crime).
    Perhaps - but "higher yield" as you are using strikes me as possibly favoring the rich and powerful over the poor, given that financial crimes of the sort you seem to be talking about impact rich people more, at least directly, than poor people. It would be interesting to know if property crime comitted by poor people generally impacts more poor people - those least able to absorb it.





    Right, but what is the probability that a random person stopped in one of those poor black areas where police patrol is actually a violent criminal weighted against the probability that they have some sort of drugs. In other words, what is the probability that black people in poor areas arrested for drug possession would actually be a violent criminal. If it's not very high - then the net effect is that black people are being arrested at higher rates (and thus subjected to harsher police treatment) for behavior that is just as common in white areas not subjected to that treatment (affluent college students).
    It is a fair question. I can only go back to something in the above posts: I do think police presence has an effect on lowering crime. As you said before - we could create an [even more] authoritarian police state and reduce crime. There is a non-racist rationale for why the areas patrolled more heavily are patrolled more heavily.
     
    Wouldn’t desegregation be part of the answer to this fear? I think the hold of this type of stuff is weakening, at least since I was a girl. My neighborhood was totally white growing up, but my parents, well, mom, did a good job of exposing us to other cultures and having a wide variety of reading material in the home. When I went to a desegregated middle school, it wasn’t such a shock.

    My children have several mixed race couples in their group of friends, they are not afraid of black people, I don’t think. Their generation is friends with people from other races, so they know that people are just people.

    That‘s my exceedingly simple minded take on this, anyway. 🙂
     
    It is a fair question. I can only go back to something in the above posts: I do think police presence has an effect on lowering crime. As you said before - we could create an [even more] authoritarian police state and reduce crime. There is a non-racist rationale for why the areas patrolled more heavily are patrolled more heavily.

    Yes. Police presence has an effect on lowering crime. But absence of police can also have an effect on lowering crime.

    It's more complicated than a straightforward, linear, directly proportional relationship.

    What also gets lost in many of these discussions is that what *also* plays a role is the community self-policing. Much of what happened in New York, for example, in terms of crime reduction was the community looking inwardly and holding one another accountable and instituting supports and activities and accountability in their own neighborhoods.

    And, as UTJ stated above, you can have a total, authoritarian police presence - like China, for example. Where there are state peacekeepers and agents stationed in every locale with the freedom to go in wherever they want, accountable to a systemic, hierarchical administrative police structure.

    But we don't want that.

    So it becomes a matter of finding a balance for us.

    And the assumption that more police = lower crime as a justification for adding more police is a really outdated concept. It's an old, overly simplistic model that nobody really turns to. I mean, maybe some municipalities that don't have a lot of access to information or no real need to complicate their system beyond what they've been doing.

    But generally speaking, that model is no longer considered effective - in terms of financing and impact.

    And, again, not every decision in policing is race related.

    Nobody is saying that. I am not sure why you keep coming back to that point, because you're not actually arguing against anyone.
     

    Create an account or login to comment

    You must be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create account

    Create an account on our community. It's easy!

    Log in

    Already have an account? Log in here.

    Advertisement

    General News Feed

    Fact Checkers News Feed

    Sponsored

    Back
    Top Bottom