An Afrocentric Perspective on Policing

Essay by boscoannCollege, UndergraduateA, February 2007

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Christopher Cooper states: "I choose to notice my societal position as a black man in America. To discard it is to avoid realizing and challenging the injustices that come with my societal position. The same people who tell you to forget who you are, are the same people who will not let you forget who you are." Cooper caught my attention when saying, in sum, that Police aren't completely who they say they are, and who they still are to this day. Before reading this article I wasn't convinced that some police officers were racist in their line of work, but now I am.

I am currently taking the Introduction to Criminology class here at CCSU. After reading this text I thought to take a look at the textbook we are studying and what it had to say about policing and when it first begun. It states the following:

The origin of U.S.

police agencies, like that of criminal law, can be traced to early English society; Every person living in the villages scattered throughout the countryside was responsible for aiding neighbors and protecting the settlement from thieves and marauders. This was know as the pledge system. People were grouped in collectives of 10 families, called tithing, and were entrusted with policing their own minor problems.

Instead of stating who was looked at as the first police, slave owners, the paint this enlightened image of white English families protecting one another playing the role of the police officers. Nothing about racism is stated in the chapter on Police History.

Cooper has taught me something that helped me to realize my views on the topic of policing. He gives strong evidence throughout the article to prove that there were these issues and still are, yet they are being blinded away from college teachings, the media, and readings.

This class along with various opinions and readings have helped me to make my decision not to become a police officer. As a criminal justice student in the process I could not handle working in a racist environment when we are there to protect and maintain order. African American police officers might never achieve where they want to be as an officer because of their skin color and, in my opinion, that's sad to hear. I believe actions should be taken to reduce the amount of racist police officers we have out there on our streets.