Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Intra-Racial Prejudice amongst African-Americans when Policing Members of Their Own Racial Background
by Malone, Sean C., Psy.D., Union Institute and University, 2018, 99; 10933852
Abstract (Summary)

Prejudice is a pervasive concept that has been used at different times to hold those who are different from us at bay. In American culture, it has been revisited time after time as each new wave of immigrants arrives on American soil. For the African-American however, it has been a concept and social construct that continues to plague the culture and community. The goal and purpose of this study was to investigate the assumed biases observed by African-American officers when they encounter African-American civilians. While this phenomenon may impact both female and male officers from all racial backgrounds, for the purpose of this research the focus was on the impact it has on African-American male officers. This study aspired to explore the psychological, and sociological theories that influence the behaviors of these officers during these encounters. The research question examined whether, African-American officers demonstrate a racial bias, when policing their own culture? The study asked if exposure to media priming, acceptance of stereotypes, and a desire to assimilate into a predominantly Caucasian agency results in intra-racial prejudice and discrimination on behalf of the African-American officers. Through a qualitative approach known as the Enhanced Critical Incident Technique, this research investigated how African-American officers’ perceived their experience of policing the African-American community. It also examined their experience of having served within a police force that is predominantly Caucasians. A snowball technique was employed to obtain a subject pool of twelve retired African-American officers from across the country. Interviews were conducted, transcribed, coded, and categorized to develop themes that captured similarities in the thought process of these retired officers. It was posited that exposure to media stereotypes of African-Americans and their community and a desire to assimilate to the department would result in aggression towards African-American civilians. Findings of the study revealed these seven themes: Media, “The Blue Wall”, “We All Bleed Blue”, Comfort with a Caucasian Partner and Loyalty, Black Lives Matter, Mistreatment of African-Americans, and Strained Relations in the Community. What emerged from these themes was the acknowledgement that these are influencing factors in the everyday life of the African-American officer. Participants also reported observing the phenomenon of intra-racial prejudice within the law enforcement. Lastly findings of this study suggest the need for further in-depth research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ossege, Jennifer
Commitee: Karmen, Andrew, Lax, William
School: Union Institute and University
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-B 80/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Law enforcement, African American Studies, Black studies, Clinical psychology
Keywords: African-American officers, Intra-racial prejudice, Media priming
Publication Number: 10933852
ISBN: 978-0-438-35459-3
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