Fourth quarter blog post

Here is my fourth quarter blog post

Monday, May 18, 2015

Driving While Black

A few days ago in class, we had a brief discussion on the behavior of traffic police. We specifically discussed what types of cars were more likely to be pulled over in the North Shore, and concluded that old, beaten up cars are more likely to be pulled over by the police because they look as if they belong to someone who is of lower class than the average person in the North Shore. This is a perfect example of downward classism; it seems that the police believe that since the driver could possibly not be of upper class like most in the North Shore, they must be committing some type of crime. Being a criminal is a common stereotype of lower classes. Unfortunately, not only are police classist, but they are racist as well.

We've all heard about the extreme cases of police racism on the news. Black people are getting murdered by police for no justifiable reason over and over again. What many may not know about is the racism that happens on a daily basis, in the context of minor traffic crimes. According to the Washington Post, black drivers are actually 31% more likely to be pulled over than white drivers for small traffic crimes. Obviously, police officers are consciously or subconsciously picking and choosing who they pull over based on race. If they were not, one race would not be more likely than another to be pulled over. 

Further inequality in stops for traffic crime can be seen in the fact that black drivers are more than twice as likely to be subject to a search than white drivers, and almost twice as likely to not be given any reason as to why they were pulled over. Both of these statistics show the breach of civil liberties from black drivers by police. It seems impossible that police have reasonable suspicion to search twice as many blacks than whites, meaning police do not have probable cause to search many of these people and therefore are stripping blacks of their right to privacy. Also, blacks are stripped of their right to haebeus corpus when they are not told why they were pulled over. Furthermore, it is likely that police refuse to tell so many blacks why they pulled them over because the only reason may have been that the driver was "driving while black", a phrase used to describe the "crime" of being black that seems to be the only reason many black drivers are pulled over.
This police officer seems to be measuring "how black" the driver in the car ahead is with a device that looks like it would normally measure speed, implying that being black is a crime just like speeding is. The cartoon is showing how the policeman has no true reason to be pulling this car over besides the fact that the driver is "driving while black".

It is clear that racism is an American trend. Perhaps one reason it remains so prevalent in our society is that people in power, specifically law-enforcement officers, in general are racist and act on it by discriminating and stripping blacks of their civil liberties. This breach of civil liberties makes blacks unequal to whites in America, which only continues to fuel racism in this country. I believe there needs to be stricter laws and regulations to prevent racial discrimination by the police. If police are monitored closely as well as the traffic stops and arrests they make, racist cops can be identified and either fired or ordered to change how they are doing things. This can lead to a decrease in both extreme and smaller cases of police racism and discrimination, and is greatly needed right now in America. 

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