Stereotyping In Law Enforcement

The solid impression adopted by the white regarding AAW characteristics, which are considered backward and much inferior have propelled the attitudes and discriminative behaviors towards them. Emotionally reacting to the presence of AAW in job settings and other social setups clearly indicates how AAW have continually been perceived as incapable of competing with white for the same resources, jobs and even rewards in various law enforcement agencies. These racial stereotyping have become a group belief and relate that all AAW share the same negative characteristic making them incompetent, uncompetitive and of very low status. These biased perceptions have been a major setback for black women in realizing and advancing in their careers. Specific characteristics have been used to specifically describe women lowering their morale in work, making them feel unaccepted, unexpected, and of extremely low value compared to their white counterparts occupying the same positions in the law enforcement agencies. Relevant dimensions have been used to describe black women and their ascribed social identities, which are negatively, connected with law enforcement positions that the women seek to occupy. Stereotyping has been observed in gender, attitude and perception. African American women continue to enter into law enforcement at a huge disadvantage under negative attitudes from white men stimulating various barriers that account on how poorly AAW serves in law enforcement. Formation of white men subculture in law enforcement providing distinct characteristic as what is perceived as of value, and accepted lifestyle has placed great pressure on AAW. This subculture demands different capabilities and habits which are considered that a black woman cannot achieve hence being inferior in whatever rank they occupy in law enforcement agencies.

Law enforcement has been a white man dominated institution and profession where gender stereotypes and inferior attitudes about AAW have been cultivated. Men hamstring the professions ability to recruit, promote and retain even the most talented black women. Female officers in Georgia have therefore made extremely low progress in integrating fully in policing due to the inferior perceptions adopted by male officers and white in higher positions. Most surprising is that the occupation culture highly portrays masculine tone in these law enforcement agencies and hence women remain to have a low occupational status than men. Regarding law enforcement as a White man’s job and having negative views on police officers indicates the adamant of men to accept women as equal and having the same chance in executing their assignments in the same way as men do. AAW are regarded as mentally weak, naïve, physically incapable, too emotional insufficiently aggressive and, worse still, not incapable of gaining the respect of their white counterparts. However, AAW have outperformed and shown high capabilities in handling their tasks and seeking to expand their position in law enforcement.

Men remain the largest group of officers sworn in while the woman represents a very small percentage at the lower levels of authority. Women accounted for 12.7% in large agencies while in small agencies, they accounted for only 8.1%. This was in 2001, which was actually a decline in the number sworn in compared with that of 2000, which had 13%. The trend from the table indicates that over the years, the number of sworn in female officers have declined. This grave disparity indicated between men and women who are involved in policing adversely affects AAW that are least represented; the overall culture and efficacy of law enforcement departments as a whole effect Georgia and United States. Regardless of the prevailing statistics, which the government has been represented with and is aware of the figures has done nothing. Even with the given numerous difficulties and challenges that continue to face modern police agencies on the side of AAW, the imperative to hire them has never been given any consideration or the urgency required.

Policies, practices and attitudes in the police force remain a great hindrance in advancement in senior positions and acceptance as members of the same society. These are the potential sources of racial disparities affecting black women in law enforcement position and their interaction with other police officers. Even though Georgia is trying to educate individuals about the issue of race discrimination and the need of white police officers to be self-conscious on their attitudes and behaviors, little has been corrected. However, it is vital to note that controlling individual behavior and attitudes will not change how the justice system officials act or reshape the nature of the society. Stereotype is considered a group perception regarding incompetence, competition and status of a minor group, which is evidently described and portrayed through discrimination and prejudice. Understanding the importance of the community working together to eliminate this racial discrimination practices and policies in law enforcement system will be the best way to ensure that the minority like black women are not mistreated and underrepresented in various agencies.

Even though police officers are considered to deal with crimes of different perspectives including complaints from citizens, police officers should not be shaped by the nature of their jobs and cause adoption of unethical practices. Being suspicious of AAW and every activity AAW undertake should be considered as an issue of past. Focus should be placed on providing appropriate corrections when a mistake is done. Daily encounters and negative personal traits should not be portrayed to identify certain kinds of people like black women. Since police work involves identification of people's faults, much strain should be placed on guidance on how not to develop cynical behaviors, which can result to paranoia.

African American women report encountering extremely persistent and intractable negative race-based stereotypes where their credibility and mostly authority-if they are assigned- are frequently questioned. Catalyst report states that AAW do not consistently receive institutional support in various law enforcement agencies. African American women have been known to walk a fine line and worse of it AAW fight for attempting to address their lack in connection with other white counterparts in the workplace. Responding to scrutiny from co-workers is another issue and challenge affecting AAW and it can be seen in the way they are constantly revealing themselves to their co-workers. Much of this is attributed to African-American historical legacy of slavery, discrimination that is based on skin color, and legally enforced racial segregation. The resultant effect has been sensitization of race discussions on AAW being off limit due to lack of attachment of the required gravity from the white. In fact, AAW have perceived that at the workplace, their existing relationships with the white women are conflicted. Black woman therefore continues to tolerate racist comments at the workplace as AAW develops guardedness barriers to help cope up with the situation of negative stereotyping.


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