This blog post is really a essay that I had to write for my sociology class. She posed the question ” What is the social issue/problem facing the United States?” Not having to think twice I wrote this essay in under 15 minutes and had to share it with you!
I believe that the social issue/problem facing the United States is police brutality, particularly in regards to the Black community. This issue of police brutality stems from America’s history. For decades the black community has been frustrated, enraged and distrusting of the police force. Stories of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and Freddie Gray and countless others, fill our airways while each incident seems to yield the same results-the officer going unpunished for the killing of an unarmed citizen.
Contrary to some expectations, the public has a great deal of confidence in the police. According to a Gallup poll, only 11 percent had a negative view of the police. However, the perceptions of police change when the numbers are looked at more closely. Whereas 57 percent of white Americans had a high level of confidence in the police, only 32 percent of African Americans felt the same way (Tischler, 2014). For decades blacks have possessed an extreme suspicion and fear of police officers. That fear has grown from the days of slavery, through segregation up until now. Police officers have shown to be unqualified and brutal with their dealings of blacks and that undeniable truth has come to the forefront today thanks to social media. Countless numbers of cases have gone ignored because people refuse to face the reality that police target and harm minorities. The purpose of officers are firstly is to serve and protect their community, they also have a duty to enforce laws, investigate specific crimes, search people, vicinity and buildings and arrest or detain people (Tischler, 2014). It seems as though however, that the true purpose of cops is to decide if a citizen is right or wrong and has the right to live or not. The blatant abuse of power by officers has caused a civil unrest within the black community. This unrest has affected many aspects of the community. While more could be done in the raising and nurturing of children in urban communities, the struggle between blacks and cops has turned into a war of “us against them” and vice versa, a reality that all must face.
Officers have the difficult duty of seeing people at their worse and must cope with doing their job to the best of their ability. Most officers feel as though they are not respected as a force of the law and have led many of them to act irrationally and without conscience. One could easily point out the frustration, discouragement and irritability that an officer faces daily including putting their lives on the line to serve. Being in this position should make the training and mental health of an officer a priority. Officers are also taught to assume the worse when patrolling in a black community; this pre-determined thinking (racial profiling) puts many officers on edge making it easier for them to make irrational and inappropriate decisions. Officers mentally unfit for duty should not be allowed in the field. Officers with histories of citizen complaints and excessive force should be disciplined accordingly. After careful investigation on both sides, officers that commit murder should immediately be held accountable for their actions, justifiable or otherwise. A renewal must take place in the justice system in order for this friction to settle. Police officers are a necessary force in the community; however their behavior must be carefully supervised to insure that their duties are humane and just. People will cause trouble and difficult situations will arise, though we are all human, police officers must be equipped to handle them. Racial training, racial profiling, situation control, police/community communication, police discipline, weapon disarming and training, drug testing and psychological testing and evaluations should constantly be used to better each officer and verify that they are mentally stable to act in the line of duty in order for a change to begin.
Tischler, H. L. (2014). Ontroduction to Sociology 11th Edition. Belmont: Wadsworth.