Black Police, White Society

Black Police, White Society

Copyright Date: 1984
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 290
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  • Book Info
    Black Police, White Society
    Book Description:

    "Extremely informative. . . deserves a wide readership, both inside and outside police departments." - Publishers Weekly "An imaginative and insightful account of the day-to-day life of the black police officer in a large urban environment. A must read for all police officers, white as well as black." - Marvin BluePresident, Guardians AssociationNew York City Police Department ". . . well written and achieves its purpose. It will be of interest to specialists and students of race relations, urban problems, and criminal justice issues."br> - Library Journal This book is about the world of black police in New York City: who they are, how they work with the department, how they are recruited by whites, how they are treated in turn by their fellow blacks, and how they operate day by day in the richest as well as the poorest parts of the city. Leinen provides direct quotations from police, citizens, city administrators, and street hustlers, as well as detailed assessments of encounters in the everyday relations between police and the public.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-6503-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. 1-8)

    Black Police, White Societyis a book about the working world of the black police officer. The idea for the book, as well as the research for it, came from my own experience as a member of the New York City police department (NYPD). In the mid-1960s I worked in the NYPD as a uniformed police officer, then as a detective in plainclothes for approximately nine years, and currently as a patrol supervisor in predominantly black areas of New York City. During this time I have met and worked with a large number of black patrolmen and black detectives, and...

    • [PART I Introduction]
      (pp. 9-12)

      FROM the time blacks first joined the New York City police force until fairly recently, whites have maintained a position of dominance, relegating blacks to subordinate roles and denying them access to job opportunities and advancement. Thus the first blacks to enter the New York City police department at the turn of the century were assigned exclusively as “doormen.” It was not until some years later that they began to receive assignments more in keeping with what police actually do. But, by then, other forms of discrimination had emerged within the department which effectively excluded blacks from all but routine...

    • Chapter One Patterns of Discrimination
      (pp. 13-37)

      DISCRIMINATION against black police in this country, legitimated by traditional police norms and supported to a large extent by a pervasive racial ideology, was perhaps nowhere more evidently demonstrated than in the common practice in the past of denying black cops any opportunity to work in white communities. Several studies have noted that in most cities across the country black officers, prior to the mid-1960s, were not only concentrated in precincts populated heavily by members of their own race, but quite often excluded altogether from duties in white areas. The practice of confining black police to black precincts or districts...

    • Chapter Two On the Job: Perceptions within the NYPD
      (pp. 38-94)

      EARLIER we presented racial data for the NYPD from a number of sources including government reports, newspapers, and the department’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity. These data, while revealing the statistical accomplishments (and failures) of black police officers over the past decade or so, do not tell us how black officers themselves perceive their situation in the department today as compared with that of the past. Our intent is to try to uncover and present these feelings since they, and not the statistics, create the individual officer’s particular sense of identity and of belonging, and influence his reactions to his...

    • [PART II Introduction]
      (pp. 95-96)

      IN Part I we considered a number of key political, social, and legal developments of the past two decades to uncover their effect on traditional patterns of racial discrimination in American police agencies. We then examined the views of 46 black policemen in New York City concerning the treatment they felt they received from white police occupying both formal and informal positions of power in the department. It was discovered that, despite the important advances that have been made in the direction of removing institutional obstacles to full job equality and opportunity for black policemen, and an optimism toward future...

    • Chapter Three Forces Favoring Improved Relations
      (pp. 97-116)

      AS we have indicated, the 1960s and early 1970s were periods marked by broad and far-reaching challenges to traditional racial policies and practices. These challenges were divided along two major lines; one essentially conservative in character, die other more radical. The early civil rights movement was basically conservative in its approach towards integration and equality for blacks in America. It committed itself largely to working through the existing legal and political system and accepted the prevailing values of the country as a whole. The later, more radical, movement, which accepted a militant posture with regard to America’s racial problems, concentrated...

    • Chapter Four Forces Against Improved Relations
      (pp. 117-132)

      A number of the men interviewed, a minority of them, rather strongly rejected the notion that working relations between black and white police have improved significantly in recent years. These men, nine of the 46, testified that conflict and division along racial lines continue to exist in their commands, a continuance they largely attribute to the persistence of antiblack sentiments and practices on the part of whitepatrolofficers.

      A few of these respondents placed the problem squarely in the lap of white policemen and some blacks who, they argue, still prefer racial exclusivism as a working arrangment. One policeman...

    • Chapter Five The Variable Nature of Police Race Relations
      (pp. 133-158)

      A third group of black police officers—17 men in all—were inclined to reject the notion that relationships on the job could be explained exclusively in black-white terms. They felt that such simplistic generalizations masked the complex nature of human interaction and in the process ignored other basic determinants of attraction and rejection in the work setting. As some of these men see it, interracial relationships tend to vary considerably according to one’s location or assignment in the department. For others basic similarities—and differences—in such areas as occupational ideology, personal values, and interests constitute more powerful determinants...

    • [PART III Introduction]
      (pp. 159-162)

      THE quality of the relationship between the police and the members of any particular community has essentially depended upon the extent to which cultural values and beliefs held by the two groups have tended to converge. The problem in many urban centers, and especially within racial ghettos, is that there has existed a sharp divergence between the values shared by police and those held by the community, and it is this discrepancy that in recent years has led to increasing conflict and open confrontation between the two. Conflicting values, however, are not the only determinants of relations between police and...

    • Chapter Six Images, Attitudes, and Expectations
      (pp. 163-196)

      AS members of a public service organization interacting on a frequent and continuous basis with their clientele, police have become highly sensitized to the attitudes of people living within their precinct and can readily distinguish favorable from unfavorable ones. But occupational affiliation does more than just alert police to particular community attitudes; it also sensitizes them to the conditions which give rise to these attitudes. So it is with our police respondents. When asked to appraise the attitudes blacks have traditionally held toward the police, a clear, but decidedly unfavorable picture emerged. Virtually all of the men conceded that major...

    • Chapter Seven The Police Role in the Black Community
      (pp. 197-242)

      OUR concerns are with the way black police perceive their role in ghetto communities, with the expectations black citizens attach to the police mission, and whether or not these coincide. We also discuss some of the problems black (and white) police routinely face in attempting to meet the demands of the black community for greater police protection as well as the reactions of the men as they come to realize that they are somewhat ineffectual in dealing with many of these problems.

      First, and contrary to our initial expectations, the great majority of black policemen in this study defined their...

    (pp. 243-276)

    In this book I have attempted to report on the accomplishments and failures of black policemen during a period of massive social change by drawing upon material found in journals, newspapers, books, and department documents. But mostly I have relied upon a long series of interviews with 46 black New York City policemen who, by and large, were quite willing to tell me how they are treated by their superiors, how they get along with white officers, and how they view their role in the black community. This work seems incomplete, however, without offering my own views on the issues...

  9. INDEX
    (pp. 277-281)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 282-283)