Rebuttal Argument—Yoshi

The Police Problem Isn’t A Police Problem

P1. Overall, more white people than black people are killed in police shootings because, in America, there are nearly one hundred and sixty billion more white people than black people. But when the population is proportionalized black people are twice as likely to get killed over white people. The killings, according to data, are not a racism problem. The problem here is that America has a violence and gun problem causing many police to walk around in fear.

P2. In 2014, U.S. residents committed more than 14,000 murders along with about 1.15 million other violent crimes. 68% of the homicides were caused by firearms. This is not surprising; considering there are 300 million guns owned by residents of the United States. This raises the concern that police should often fear their own lives considering, most of the people they encounter are in fact carrying a weapon on them. Not only that but police are usually in a crime ridden areas, trying to diminish the crime rate. So this stirs up the thought that black people are killed more often than white people because of the impoverished areas they live in; which make it more likely for a police to encounter a black person over a white person.

P3. Although this is a good point they are not necessarily true. The Virginia Police Department conducted a study of what red flags police look for before stopping someone at a traffic stop. The study determined whether the police stopping the victim had anything to do with race or socioeconomic factors. The three finding the study found was Virginia Police Officers stopped people based of off the crime rate in the neighborhood, the searching was determined from the percentage of the black population, and the percentage of stops that ended in an arrest was an impact of both the percentage of Black population and the crime rate of the area. This racial bias is not only apparent in the Virginia Police Department’s study, but also in New York City’s racial biased “stop and frisk” program. The Stop and Frisk Program was designed to allow police officers to stop anyone that they deemed suspicious. During the first three months of this 83% of the people that ended up being stopped and frisked were minorities. Leaving only a maximum of only potentially 17% white people being stopped which is tremendously less. This study speaks loudly on the very obvious targeting that happens from police.

P4. There is also the claim that black people are more likely than white people to flee from police, resist arrest, and attack police. When put in life or death situations police have only a couple seconds to determine whether or not they should shoot. In some cases police officers should shoot, but they react too late; and in other cases police officers shoot for the wrong reason. Many Americans believe it isn’t fair to name police as racist because they are put in tough situations where sometimes it is hard to always make the right decision. Josh Correll, a psychology professor from the University of Colorado, ran test with a video game. His findings showed police officers avoid shooting unarmed targets of all races, but as soon as they were allowed to shoot they would shoot more quickly against blacks suspects over white ones. This shows that officers do display some racial bias in shooting suspects.His research found that the public and police are less likely to view black people as “innocent.” In another study of Cornell’s, police officers and people of the community were challenged to make fast impulse shooting decisions with speed and accuracy. The data from both groups of people showed a racial bias in the speed of their shooting. The police and community members shot more black targets than white targets, and the police and community members shot so fast that it was deemed an instinct.

P5. America has had a problem with racism for centuries now. Everyday black people have to overcome their racial-based discrepancy in schooling, employment, economic status, etc.. Black people are more likely than white people to be unemployed, less likely to finish high school, and more likely to live in poverty or go to jail. A study done by a sociology major, shows that employers are less likely to hire someone with “Black sounding names” than someone with a “white sounding name” even when their applications were identical. Similarly enough, only a racial bias can explain why a white man with felony charges is more likely to get an interview than a black man with the same qualifications and a clean record. Even black children get treated unfairly compared to white kids. Tamir Rice for example a little boy that was playing with a gun, at the park that had an orange tag on it. The orange tags indicates that the gun is a toy gun. The officer shows up to the park and within two seconds the officer shoots Tamir Rice, leaving him dead at the park. In the same instance two boys from Ohio were playing on the street with BB guns. The police was called but this time they did not see an orange tag on the boys gun. The officers did not draw their weapons on the two boys. Instead, the officers approached the boys and arrested them. The same incidents in both situations, but the single black boy with a specified toy gun was killed in two seconds; while the two white boys were calmly approached and arrested.

P6. Black people are seen as a threat in not only police related situations, but also in communities. Yes, white people are shot more often than black people, but that doesn’t account for the 160 billion more white people in the world. Yes, black people get shot more because police are usual in crime ridden areas; so there are more encounters with black people over white people; but the reason they do get shot is because of the racial bias police have implemented throughout their training and work life not because they are doing something wrong. Research shows that police officers gain a cognitive bias based on their instinct. Police are more inclined to shoot at black males over white males even if the reasoning is the exact same.

Works Cited

Brooks, Rosa. “America’s Police Problem Isn’t Just About Police.” Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy, 5 Jan. 2016.

Juzwiak R, Chan A. Unarmed people of color killed by police, 1999-2014. Gawker. 2014. Available at: http://gawker.com/unarmed-people-of-color-killed-by-police-1999-2014-1666672349. Accessed March 30, 2015.

Adams, Kenneth, Geoffrey P. Alpert, Roger G. Dunham, Lawrence A. Greenfeld-Garner, Mark A. Henriquez, and Patrick A. Langan. 1999. Use of Force By Police: Overview of National and Local Data Series [Research report]. Washington, DC: U.S. National Institute of Justice. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1745-9133.12269/full

Kyle Wagner. U.S. Police Shootings Database, http://goo.gl/Su60Cm; 2014. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0734016805275675

Klinger DA. On the Problems and Promise of Research on Lethal Police Violence: A Research Note. Homicide Studies. 2012;16(1):78. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1088767911430861

Black, D. (1976). The behavior of Law. New York: Academic Press. Google Scholar. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0734016805275675

9 thoughts on “Rebuttal Argument—Yoshi”

  1. I numbered your paragraphs so that I can refer to them easily.

    A couple of punctuation notes before we start.
    1. The ONLY USE for single quotes is for quoted material inside another quote. Find and replace any single quotes that don’t meet this exception with DOUBLE QUOTES.
    2. Most of your commas (literally more than half of them) are randomly placed and unnecessary. Start by removing all of them. Then place only those you are certain you need. When you’ve done that, invite me back and I’ll get rid of any that don’t need to be there.
    3. Commas and periods ALWAYS go INSIDE the quotation marks. That’s one of our 14 Rules of Basic Grammar for which you can fail an essay. I mean ALWAYS as in ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS. The single exception is NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER. It’s the only punctuation rule we can really count on.

    Like

  2. You’re doing good work here, Yoshi, but you want to “kill it,” so that’s enough encouragement for now. Let’s take a hard look at what’s standing between you and excellence.

    P1. Claims involving numbers need to be REALLY clear and accurate, Yoshi.
    —There are not 160 billion people on earth, let alone in America.
    —You say “black people are twice as likely to get killed over white people,” but you mean something like “black people are twice as likely to get killed in police shootings AS white people.”
    —You can claim all you like that the killings “according to data, are not a racism problem,” but if you don’t intend to explain that extraordinary assertion, nobody will simply accept it. What data could possibly demonstrate that killings ARE NOT RACIST? It’s intriguing, and if proven, it’s VERY IMPORTANT, but you can’t just assert it. You need at least to hint HOW you will prove it.
    —Your concluding sentence is a thrilling summation, very interesting, highly compelling. It commands interest and insists that readers continue deeper into the article. But you had better start immediately to demonstrate it. You can’t drop a bombshell and then deviate.

    P2. You deviated. Not by much, but just enough.
    —Your first sentence needs to mention cops and their fear. That’s what you promised in the paragraph above. Then you can back it up with the numbers of murders and violent gun crimes.
    —Your claim that “most of the people police encounter” are armed is a little surprising. I doubt it. I’m sure most readers will doubt it. Can you substantiate it? You could say “so many.”
    —You conflate a lot of superstitions that you need to substantiate unless you want to be considered racist, Yoshi. Your formula appears to be: BLACK PEOPLE = IMPOVERISHED NEIGHBORHOOD = HIGH CRIME NEIGHBORHOOD. Even if that’s all entirely true, on average, you don’t want to be the person whose argument is tainted by the appearance of prejudice. Find yourself some statistics that quantify the likelihood that beat cops will encounter more black citizens on their rounds, that they’ll be in impoverished neighborhoods, and that there will be more crime committed there, AND that there will be more guns carried in those neighborhoods. Maybe you’ve done this in your other essays. But you have to do it somewhere; otherwise, your logic skips several steps.

    P3. “Although, this is a good point they are not necessarily true.”
    —This weak sentence is a fatal flaw you SIMPLY MUST CORRECT. It refers to everything that has gone before, casts doubt on its veracity, then fails to assert what you believe to be true in its place. If your first two paragraphs were at all convincing (and they were!), then telling readers they were wrong to believe you is a TERRIBLE STRATEGY. They won’t know when to believe you, which completely upends your credibility.
    —Suppose, instead, every time you’re going to share an opinion with which you disagree, you said so. Here are examples of how to do so:

    • Many reasonable people mistakenly believe that . . . .
    • My worthy but mistaken opponent believes that . . . .
    • The popular but wrongheaded thinking here is that . . . .

    —I’m afraid we’re not going to be able to accept your summary conclusions about the Virginia PD study or the NYC stop and frisk program, Yoshi. You don’t cite actual sources here; you simply name programs and cite your own conclusions. The stakes are too high for readers to accept what you say at face value.
    —For example, 83% of the civilians stopped and frisked in NYC were probably male, probably between 18 and 40, probably NYC residents, probably minorities BUT most likely in the neighborhoods where the program was conducted 83% of the pedestrians were probably between 18 and 40, probably NYC residents, probably minorities. What does that prove? It proves that the cops were SEXIST for stopping more males than females. See the problem? It MIGHT MEAN that the PD was biased in sending cops to certain neighborhoods for stop-and-frisk. It DOESN’T NECESSARILY MEAN that the individual cops were racist.

    P4. Can you tell from these sentences what YOSHI’S point of view is? If it’s well-written, there should be no question about the author’s position.

    There is also the claim that black people are more likely than white people to flee from police, resist arrest, and attack police. When put in life or death situations, police have only a couple seconds to determine whether or not they should shoot. In some cases police officers should shoot, but they react too late; and in other cases police officers shoot for the wrong reason. Many Americans believe it isn’t fair to name police as racist because they are put in tough situations where sometimes it is hard to always make the right decision.

    Fix it to make Yoshi’s position undeniably clear.

    You continue:

    Josh Correll, a psychology professor from the University of Colorado, ran test with a video game. His findings showed police officers avoid shooting unarmed targets of all races, but as soon as they were allowed to shoot, they would shoot more quickly against blacks suspects over white ones.

    What confuses readers about this claim is the “allowed to shoot” statement. We have no idea what prevented them from shooting, who gave them “permission,” or how the game was constructed. Did it show the same scene twice to different officers, half the time with black suspects and half the time with white suspects? Once our confidence in the source wavers, we don’t know how to evaluate your conclusions.

    This shows that officers do display some racial bias in shooting suspects.

    It might, but readers don’t have much confidence that you’ve drawn an appropriate conclusion.

    His research found that the public and police are less likely to view black people as ‘innocent’. In another study of Cornell’s, police officers and people of the community were challenged to make fast impulse shooting decisions, with speed and accuracy. The data from both groups of people showed a racial bias in the speed of their shooting. The police and community members shot more black targets than white targets, and the police and community members shot so fast that it was deemed, an instinct.

    What readers are likely to decide on the basis of this information is that cops are NO BETTER and NO WORSE than the general public at ignoring stereotypes. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen evidence in your arguments here or elsewhere that you believe cops are TRAINED to expect more danger and violence from black citizens or suspects. Is that an accurate memory?

    P5. This is a very clever paragraph, Yoshi. It’s rhetorically very persuasive, and, like the paragraph above, while it doesn’t exonerate cops, neither does it condemn them for being more racist than anyone else. Instead, it advances the reasonable argument that cops are products of their society, neither more nor less prejudiced than the rest of us.

    P6. When you repeat your claims, you elicit the same objections. You can’t just assert that

    police are usual in crime ridden areas, so there are more encounters with black people

    I knew I had read something like what follows, which you haven’t substantiated at all. If you do have evidence that police training increases their expectation of violence from black suspects, you should come out with it. It would be extremely useful. Otherwise, you can’t say this:

    because of the racial bias police have implemented throughout their training .
    . . police officers gain a cognitive bias based on their instinct

    I hope that was helpful and not discouraging, Yoshi. I’m genuinely impressed with the effort you’ve made to find evidence and deploy it with care. You’re showing tremendous progress.

    Like

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