The Shooting Of Michael Brown Essay

1657 Words Apr 21st, 2015 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 had played a role in Browns’ death. Police officers, like all humans, have information in knowledge stores called schemas — generalized knowledge about the social world, such as what kind of behavior to expect when dealing with a particular person (17). Was Officer Wilsons’ schema part of the reason he shot and killed the teen? What role did biases and prejudice play? Was it a simple snap judgement, based on minimal information — did Officer Wilson infer things solely due to physical appearance? Social psychology can provide some insights into the mind of the Officer, as well as the resulting actions of the community. This paper will focus on two concepts: the role stereotypes, prejudice, and power played in the actions of the accused…

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