Police Influence on Society
Historically, this nation of the United States has proven many times over its dominance over those who are different to those in power. The United States has proven time and again that it can and will discriminate against others it considers less than equal. This is proven and demonstrated to all U. S citizens and those who are not, in our history books throughout school. Every year affording student’s new information of how the United States demonstrates its power over those that are different. From the demise of many Native American tribes; the internment of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor; the discrimination and segregation of African Americans; to the constant current discrimination to those people of different origins, whose language and customs differ from that of the status quo. The United States; although, has demonstrated preference to what is referred to as “White privilege” has consistently demonstrated countless efforts and successes against prejudice and discrimination that have led this country to focus continually on equality and justice for all.
The dominant group is the group in power and so by definition is the group that establishes control. In order for a nation, such as the United States, to establish a dominance that will encourage all people to follow suit, the key lies in establishing a common ground. Control in itself is a trait that no one wants as a descriptor, but as a way to describe a united front it is more than acceptable. Having control over a population through laws and regulations that the people themselves agree to is control through the general consent. Laws and regulations meant to establish order and protection to its people also establish control within the government that governs over the people. Policing is a primary way for the government to serve and protect its people as well as its own interests.
Policing serves many purposes but the primary purpose is to protect. But, who do the police protect? The wealthy have an economic position that frees
them from the need to commit crimes such as theft, while the poor live in economic despair that tempts them to commit these crimes, or so it is believed. In reality, no one is exempt of crime; anyone is capable of committing crimes and need is not always the deciding factor. Those fortunate of economic wealth also enjoy the privilege of a high social status, and those of high social status do not need nor do they commit crimes. A myth, of course, but still believed by many. On the other hand, the less fortunate suffer discrimination based on their poor economic status among other factors. “Minorities experience unequal treatment and have less power over their lives than members of a dominant group” (Robert McNamara, 2009).
To understand how discrimination has changed throughout the years, it is important to understand the gradual but never ending influx of people from different countries into American soil. The concept of discrimination is fairly odd considering all people within the United States with the exception of Native Americans are all immigrants to this great nation and yet generation after generation people continually do to new cultures that which was once experienced by them and is possibly still experienced by their race or ethnic group. People that have lived within the United States eventually gain a sense of “national identity” and “identify with being part of the larger society” (Robert McNamara, 2009). With so many different people coming in to the country they not only bring everything which is good about their culture but also that which is negative and affects the U.S as a whole.
Discrimination is not based solely on a different culture; race, etc. but rather the negative aspects endured by the American public by a few anti-social individuals that bring disgrace upon a certain group. The events occurring on September 11th were not the actions of all Arabs or Muslims, but rather of a few and because of them all that resemble those who attacked have become the target of discrimination. Because of the actions of certain individuals, the groups that they belong to or are associated with tend to be at the receiving end of discrimination to the point that law enforcement finds it necessary to profile in order to perform their duties (Bass, 2001).
Policing in the United States reflects discriminatory actions much like many other countries. The race or ethnic background in American history, when it refers to discrimination is not relative because discrimination is not limited to certain groups. Discrimination is an act that affects those that are different from the dominant population. Law enforcement discriminates not because someone is from a different race or because a race or ethnic group commits a certain amount or types of crime. Discrimination in its purest form is simply “White America” unwilling to accept difference and those with “national identity” forgetting their own history.
Bass, S. (2001). Policing space, policing race: Social control imperatives and police discretionary decisions. Social Justice, 28(1), 156-176. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/231906243?accountid=458 Chan, J. (2011). Racial Profiling and Police Subculture. Canadian Journal Of Criminology &
Criminal Justice, 53(1), 75-78.
MacNamara, R. H., & Burns, R. (2009). Multiculturalism in the criminal justice system. New
York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
The Criminology and Criminal Justice Collective of Northern Arizona University. (2009).
Investigating difference: Human and cultural relations in criminal justice (2nd ed.).
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.