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How do we think about institutional racism in the American police force? Show more Show less
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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 are not the issue!': The police should not be blamed for the problems of a racialized society Show more Show less

This position believes that the police are the standard bearers of law and order. Limited government is fundamental to protect individual liberty. Strong police are required to protect limited government. Whether institutional racism is real, or a myth, focusing on the role of the police is both misleading and counterproductive.
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The police are being victimized

Public outcry victimizes the police. Research shows that police institutions are not racist. A study by Harvard economist Roland G. Fryer Jr. found no evidence of racial discrimination in shootings. Reports that suggest otherwise do not account for crime rates and civilian behavior during police interactions.

The Argument

With the recent wave of the Black Lives Matter movement following the deaths of people like George Floyd, many activists and politicians are concluding that police institutions are racist. However, these people are merely taking advantage of the current situation to push their agenda. Race relations between police and black communities have ebbed and flowed over the decades.[1] Systemic racism does not exist within police institutions. As Attorney General William Barr stated, “I frankly think that we generally have the vast, overwhelming majority of police are good people. I think that there are instances of bad cops. And I think we have to be careful about automatically assuming that the actions of an individual necessarily mean that their organization is rotten.”[2] The police are being victimized by politicians, activists, and many in public for doing their job of protecting our society.

Counter arguments

The public recognition of systemic racism within police institutions is the first step toward ending racially motivated police violence. Numerous policy departments recognize this reality and have implemented programs to help officers eliminate any implicit biases they have.[3] With the ubiquity of smartphones, ignoring the problem of police violence has become impossible.[4] Police are not victims; the men and women who die at the hands of police are.

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Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.manhattan-institute.org/no-police-racism-isnt-an-epidemic
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/07/us/politics/justice-department-barr-racism-police.html
  3. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200827-is-it-possible-to-rid-police-officers-of-bias
  4. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-civil-rights-expert-explains-the-social-science-of-police-racism/

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This page was last edited on Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 19:37 UTC

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