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How do we think about institutional racism in the American police force? Show more Show less

On June 8 2020, Minneapolis City Council announced it would be dismantling its police force. In its place, they pledged to introduce a new model for public safety, free from the institutional racism that had plagued its police. The decision was unprecedented, and yet, it has been followed by similar moves across the US, for police budget cuts and investigations into how they are run. At the heart of this debate is the question of institutional racism: where it comes from, how it manifests, and how it can be overcome. Following George Floyd's murder, pressure has grown for perceived systemic oppression to be addressed. Others argue that this is a myth, and that police are being victimised for the ills of society. The way that people are mobilising around this question reveals the fundamental ideas that drive their perspectives. So, who are these groups, what do they stand for, and why?

'The police must be reformed!': The police are systemically racist Show more Show less

This position believes that the coercive power of the the police has grown too far. The role of the police is to protect individual freedom, but police today now threaten this, more than they uphold it. The force has co-opted longstanding racial tensions in America to expand its own power. It is essentially corrupt and powers must be curbed.
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American police victimise black people

Numerous studies prove that police are far more likely to take action against black people. In 2018, a study by the Washington Post found that 23% of US citizens killed by police that year had been African American. Yet, this group constitutes just 12% of the country's population. A further study by Stanford tracked the 100 million police traffic stops between 2011 and 2017. Their findings were yet more revelatory, finding that black drivers were more likely to be pulled over. At night this was not the case, as drivers' ethnicity tends to be obscured by darkness. These are just two studies within a giant cannon that prove the police unfairly target nonwhites. This is true even when the race of police officers is controlled for. It is therefore a function of the job and the institution, above all.
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    This page was last edited on Tuesday, 9 Jun 2020 at 13:18 UTC