Power Violence And Discrimination Analysis

1657 Words 7 Pages
Power, Violence, and Discrimination an Analysis of the Shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri

Austin Dix
PSYC 2602-002
Spring 2015
University of Colorado Boulder

The shooting of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, Missouri polarized the nation and catalyzed a renewed focus on police violence and racial biases in policing. Ferguson, Missouri has 21,000 residents, and is primarily white. Of their 53-man police force, only four are black, and according to the U.S. Justice Department, the Ferguson Police has a highly disparate number of black suspects arrested. Thus, questions were quickly raised after the shooting whether biases or prejudices
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One, a sociological test called the implicit association test, is commonly run by flashing images of men holding guns or other innocuous objects. In almost all categories of white, male testers, the testers pulled the trigger faster for a black man holding a soda can than a white man holding a gun. It’s possible that Officer Wilson had implicit associations wired into his brain already, and made a snap judgement about Brown based only on the color of his skin. Another hypothesis is that Officer Wilson simply had heightened emotions and felt his life was in danger and reacted the way he thought his training taught him; emotions are brief psychological and physical cues and responses that last seconds and can motivate behavior and powerfully influence judgement.The feelings-as-information perspective suggests that since many judgements, especially in fast paced, high risk situations, are too complex for people to review all available information, people simply rely on their emotions to provide them with rapid information about conditions within their social environment (217). If this is true, then perhaps it was only Officer Wilsons’ scared emotions that led to a fatal …show more content…
The problems with the case of Michael Brown and Officer Wilson are not isolated to Ferguson; there are clearly issues regarding prejudice, discrimination, and power in Police forces across the nation. Nadile Kaslow, president of the American Psychological Association says that if we are to solve these issues in the future, there needs to be a renewed focus on collecting data along with funding research examining the root causes in troublesome communities, such as poverty and economic disparities. Following that, biases need to be re examined, and there needs to be a renewed focus on public/private partnerships. It’s important to look at the role that prejudice, power, and stereotypes play into systematic police discrimination. If police discrimination can be reduced, so will civil action following what community members believe to be

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