All Americans are endowed with certain unalienable rights from birth, and the Declaration of Independence was written to safeguard those rights. Nonetheless, African Americans continue to face threats to their rights from police violence. Police forces throughout the globe should be required to undergo psychological evaluations to raise awareness of implicit prejudice and help rebuild public faith in the police. The incidence of police violence has been rising in recent years. They say the United States has become a “slaughter house,” with homicides sparking urban unrest and mass shootings. Once considered the community’s “peacekeepers,” police officers now have the public afraid to step foot outside their homes. The severity of this issue is rising daily. Currently, police officers appear to be abusing their authority. Further, the mental health of bystanders is also affected by police aggression in addition to the victims themselves. Everyone knows that black Americans have approximately three times the risk of being murdered by police than white Americans do, and that the disparity widens even more between black and white Americans if they are unarmed (Graham et al. 557). Since before the United States of America ever existed, African Americans have been subjected to systemic racism, murder, and dehumanization. The shooting by police of unarmed black Americans has deep historical roots in the United States’ institutionalized racism and segregation.
The police violence that is by all accounts lopsidedly pointed on those at the lower part of the order has not spared the wealthy or the famous from targeting those born into the lower castes. After an altercation outside a Manhattan nightclub in 2015, police officers fractured the leg of a professional basketball player (Wilkerson 107-8). The Atlanta Hawks forward was rendered permanently unable to play after the injury. The case ended with a $4 million settlement, all of which the player pledged to give to a charity supporting public defenders. Although they are both minorities in the electorate, white evangelicals are like African-Americans to the Republican Party because they are the most committed voters in their respective parties. However, among the top issues of the leftists’ most reliable democratic alliance are houses affordable to any citizen, police fierceness, safe drinking water, and the ethnic wealth abundance gap. Compensations for state-authorized segregation, as has been granted to different networks victimized in the US. Nonetheless, the party that African Americans help to keep up with has disregarded or even considered risky these worries (Wilkerson 330). The party addressing and dependent on the subordinate station would have the obligation to instruct their kindred Americans about the advantages of a more fair society and counter the arguments of those who claim it is unrealistic.
According to Wilkerson, “The human meaning of caste for those who live it is power and vulnerability, privilege and oppression, honor and denigration, plenty and want, reward and deprivation, security and anxiety” (153). Not everyone is subjected to the same level of police abuse. Stops and arrests by police are more common among persons of color (Blacks), and people of color are more than four times as likely as Whites to be injured as a result of police action (Merkl and Holder Jr.). Furthermore, both Black and Black women are more likely than White women to have experienced some kind of physical, emotional, or sexual assault at the hands of the police (Merkl and Holder Jr.). People between the ages of twenty and forty-four are more likely to have experienced any kind of police brutality, and the rates of police-perpetrated killings are especially high among young people aged 25 to 34. (Graham et al. 553). Risks of suffering police mercilessness are likewise associated with financial status. For example, contrasted with those with a secondary school certificate, those without one are bound to be the objectives of officers’ psychosocial harassment and have their requests for aid ignored. Further, Black people are at a higher risk for police-involved killings due to their disproportionate exposure to police brutality due to their restricted access to socioeconomic resources. Since 2005, the percentage of Black persons murdered by police has been almost three times that of White people (Browning et al.). For every three Black persons killed by police, three White people are unarmed (Browning et al.). Black citizens were murdered by police at more than twice the rate of White civilians in fatal shootings in 2015 and 2016, and they were also less likely to be armed when shot, according to analyses of racial inequalities in such killings (DeVylder et al. 1707). One of the most enduring appearances of institutional prejudice in the U.S. is police brutality, which is both state-sanctioned and historically committed violence against Black people.
According to Wilkerson, “The laws and protocols kept them both apart and low. The greater the chasm, the easier to distance and degrade, the easier to justify any injustice or depravity” (153). Recent events in the United States include the sentencing of one cop for his role in the killing of George Floyd and the conviction of the other three policemen in federal court. A federal grand jury has indicted many police officers for their suspected involvement in Breonna Taylor’s murder. The seven illustrative incidents demonstrated the difficulties many families of African ancestry had while trying to hold police enforcement accountable for the killings of their loved ones. These cases had not been resolved, and the victims’ families were still looking for answers. The Constitution was written to place severe constraints on the police. Political processes often fail to rein in police. The Constitution and the Courts are therefore very important. However, the Supreme Court has seldom utilized the Constitution to exert control over the police, and has instead empowered the police either by its silence or its explicit actions, including the empowerment to participate in racially policing. The Supreme Court ruled in Whren v. United States in 1996 that police may legally pull over anybody on suspicion of breaking a traffic law. This includes using this as a pretext to search the vehicle for illegal substances (Tensley). After all, if the police follow someone for long enough, they’re bound to catch them weaving between lanes without signaling or failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, which only gives credence to the data showing that police are more likely to pull over people of color than they are to pull over white people.
The mental health of bystanders is also affected by police brutality, not only the victims. Significant mental health problems are reported by black persons at a rate 20% higher than that of white people (Browning et al.). The pain experienced by African Americans is amplified when media outlets often feature footage of police brutality against Black citizens. When engaging with white peers who do not understand their pain, such as at work, black people are sometimes compelled to pretend the tragedies they have experienced never happened. Living in this “double awareness” condition all the time leads to “re-traumatization,” which is associated with mental illness (Browning et al.). It’s unfortunate that Black people may be less likely to seek out mental health resources due to a lack of availability. African Americans are multiple times almost certain than white individuals to reside in locations with inadequate mental health care. Additionally, when Black individuals access therapy and other assistance, they are typically greeted with provider prejudice and inequity. Also lacking are black professionals in the field of mental health. In all honesty, the Supreme Court is quite conservative and will remain so for some time. Due of its conservative nature, it is likely to place few restrictions on police enforcement. But I have faith that constraints on police may be established elsewhere.
The stress of law enforcement work is blamed by critics of police brutality and the stigma towards black people. Police officers and departments are more likely to behave irrationally under pressure if they believe that members of the public are indifferent or even hostile toward them and their job. As a general rule, police officers shouldn’t isolate themselves and should have someone they can talk to about the stresses of the job. In response to the critics, disparities in the interaction between law enforcement and people of various races and ethnicities may lead to both differences in crime rates and in citizen conduct when engaging with law enforcement. Historically black communities in the United States had lower median household incomes and higher crime rates. Thus, Black people are disproportionately represented in areas where crime is prevalent and police officers are present. The officer’s decision to interrogate a Black suspect might be influenced by the fact that they are in a high-crime neighborhood. In both scenarios, the suspect’s race is a factor that should legitimately impact an officer’s choice, whether it be the citizen’s apprehensive conduct or the officer’s sense of a higher level of risk in the area.
In conclusion, in the United States, racial prejudice has long been an entrenched issue. A system of political, economic, institutional, and social oppression against African Americans has persisted for decades. Examining one’s identity, especially as it pertains to the connection between black bodies and an oppressive whiteness system, is necessary in light of the criminal justice system’s effect on black male adults. There are parallels between the African American slave experience and modern American dynamic. In the United States, black males are disproportionately subject to harassment, arrest, and incarceration. African Americans are statistically more likely than white Americans to be arrested, convicted, and given a long jail term due to the racial imbalance that permeates the United States criminal justice system. We have failed each other as a society in tackling the systemic causes of police violence. The issue goes much beyond a few of prejudiced law enforcement personnel. The problem of racism in the U.S is reflected in the violence of the police against black people. In many respects, police violence is a system designed to strip people of their status, resources, and opportunities based on their societal categorizations of how they appear. It also overlaps with the criminal justice system, which disproportionately punishes black individuals for crimes compared to whites. We still haven’t addressed the institutional racism that permeates the police force and our culture, and until we do, police violence will persist. A racial issue is the disproportionate use of force by police against black individuals.
Graham, Amanda, et al. “Race and worrying about police brutality: The hidden injuries of minority status in America.” Victims & Offenders 15.5 (2020): 549-573.
Other cited sources
Browning, Christopher R., et al. “Exposure to police-related deaths and physiological stress among urban black youth.” Psychoneuroendocrinology 125 (2021): 104884.
DeVylder, Jordan, Lisa Fedina, and Bruce Link. “Impact of police violence on mental health: A theoretical framework.” American journal of public health 110.11 (2020): 1704-1710.
Merkl, Taryn A., and Eric H. Holder Jr. “Protecting against Police Brutality and Official Misconduct | Brennan Center for Justice.” Www.brennancenter.org, 29 Apr. 2021, www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/protecting-against-police-brutality-and-official-misconduct.
Tensley, by Brandon. “The Supreme Court Has Sided with the Police at the Expense of Black Americans | CNN Politics.” CNN, 26 Aug. 2021, edition.cnn.com/2021/08/26/politics/policing-supreme-court-race-deconstructed-newsletter/index.html.
Wilkerson, Isabel. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. First edition, Random House, 2020.