Racial profiling and police brutality has been an issue for African Americans as well as other races for decades. In the last couple of years we have seen a large spike in coverage about this issue. Race tensions have always been around and made out to be something larger than what it is, however modern day social media and the internet have made it much easier and accessible to everyone around the world. When we sit down and look at our devices and immediately see a new case of police brutality on a person of difference race we begin to believe that maybe these other races are being targeted. Is this all true? The simple fact is when you look at the statistics of these cases and the definitions of the acts those officers are being held accountable for, we can see the media just may in fact be stirring the pot on purpose. When we look at the definition of racial profiling it is said to be, “the discriminatory practice by law enforcement officials of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on the individual’s race, ethnicity, religion or national origin.” The definition proposes the argument that officers arrest and/or kill certain citizens purely based off the color of their skin and beliefs. However, it is hard to single out a pure racial profiling case, and I believe if their is one it will be so blatant there shouldn’t be room for argument. Think of it this way, yes most police departments are dominantly Caucasian with a small percentage being another ethnic group. Although, then look at the areas with the most crime and you get a dominantly African American community. Therefore it is hard to say an officer that is white is always racially profiling a certain group when that group makes up the majority of the crime and majority of the areas population. When we begin to look deeper into the arrests and killings involved with police officers some interesting statistics show up. First, lets look at where the common everyday African American citizen lives. According to pbs.org, since 1999 it has been recorded that close to 70 percent of black families or individuals live in the cities or inner-ring suburbs of America. Next, when we begin to look at crime rate in America we find out that most of the United States crime takes place in the Cities of the United States. According to the “New Observer” the worst murder rates take place in Detroit , New Orleans, Newark, St. Louis, and Baltimore; these all being majority black communities at an average of 62%. Therefore, is it fair to say that cops are racially profiling these areas because of race, or are these people just looking at the facts and doing their job? The most interesting fact is that of the arrests themselves. Even though these communities are dominantly black statistics presented by the FBI say, “In 2013, 68.9 percent of all individuals arrested were “white,” 28.3 percent were black, and 2.9 percent were of other races. Furthermore, the FBI report claimed, “white” individuals were arrested more often for violent crimes than individuals of any other race and accounted for 58.4 percent of those arrests.” The article goes on to say that whites account for the most juveniles as well. So if more non-African Americans are being arrested each day how is discrimination, racism and racial profiling such immense topics of conversation? The answer is the media.
The media loves to cover stories involving race. The perception of the public is highly influenced by the media. If the media is always showing the wrong from officers or stories involving a white cop and a black criminal, of course the public will grow a an image of racist police officers. Public perception is everything. This was imminent in the financial crisis of 2008. The public perception began to dwindle as more media coverage bashed the banks for losing money. People began to get scared and pulled out of their shares based off pure fear presented by negative coverage. According to Salvatore Colleluori and Daniel Angster, over 70 percent of crime coverage is based around African American arrests or killings. Like the famous actor Morgan Freeman said in an interview on 60 Minutes, “the reason there is still racism is because we keep talking about it.” Think about that, if we simply stop talking about racism it will slowly go away. African Americans have the same rights as whites, they are recognized as everyday citizens with the same opportunities. So when we go back to thinking about racial profiling and discrimination, is it the police that are targeting black or is it the media itself looking for stories and ratings?