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Essay about Racial Profiling by Police

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Brent Staples’ essay, “When the Paranoids Turn Out to be Right,” acknowledges the issues of racism and racial profiling committed by police. In “Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun,” Geoffrey Canada also expresses views on this issue when he asserts that police fail to protect and serve individuals in poor neighborhoods. Staples contends, “Among the day-to-day acts of discrimination that shadow African Americans, none are more stressful or dangerous than those committed by police, some of whom treat black people as criminals until proved otherwise.” (Staples. 380) Although statistics show that the looming presence of narcotics and violence is more prevalent in urban neighborhoods, police should apply the same effort to protect individuals in these communities as they do to protect individuals in affluent ones. However, this idea isn’t met well in today’s society. Racism often leads to the blatant neglect of citizens in these areas. This cold and harsh reality is why those in poor communities feel that they are treated unfairly. Police fail to protect and serve individuals in poor neighborhoods because of racial profiling ; the preconceived notion that efforts to control violence and crime in those neighborhoods are futile, and the police fear the threat to their own safety is increased in these neighborhoods.

One argument to support the claim that police fail to protect and serve those in black neighborhoods is the hidden rule to treat those of color as criminals until proven otherwise. This can be proved when examining the issue of racial profiling. According to Brent Staples’ essay “When the Paranoids Turn Out to be Right,” this situation is largely invisible to white people, who consider the complaints of racial profiling to be “para...


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Geoffrey Canada. Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun: A Personal History of Violence. Boston, Mass: Beacon Press, 2010.
Free, Jr, Marvin. African Americans and the Criminal Justice System. 13. New York: Garland Publishing, 1996. Print.
Mann, Coramae. Unequal Justice: A Question of Color. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993. Print.
Staples, Brent. "When the Paranoids Turn Out to be Right." Heritage African American
Readings for Writers. 2 ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc., 202. 380-382. Print.
U.S. Department of Justice. Survey of state prison inmates, (1991) Office of Justice Programs. Washington D.C. : Bureau of Justice Statistics. 1993. (Print)
U.S. Department of Justice. (1994a). Crime and neighborhoods (Office of Justice Programs). Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics (1994) Print.


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