Racial Profiling: They Stopped Me Because I'm ------------!

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ISBN 9781439872253
Cat# K13325



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    • Presents a new focus on racial profiling from the minority citizen's perspective
    • Includes a qualitative study and analysis based on two years of primary research
    • Offers suggestions for applying the findings to how police interact with minorities


    Many racial minority communities claim profiling occurs frequently in their neighborhoods. Police authorities, for the most part, deny that they engage in racially biased police tactics. A handful of books have been published on the topic, but they tend to offer only anecdotal reports offering little reliable insight. Few use a qualitative methodological lens to provide the context of how minority citizens experience racial profiling.

    Racial Profiling: They Stopped Me Because I’m ———! places minority citizens who believe they have been racially profiled by police authorities at the center of the data. Using primary empirical studies and extensive, in-depth interviews, the book draws on nearly two years of field research into how minorities experience racial profiling by police authorities.

    The author interviewed more than 100 racial and ethnic minority citizens. Citing 87 of these cases, the book examines each individual case and employs a rigorous qualitative phenomenological method to develop dominant themes and determine their associated meaning. Through an exploration of these themes, we can learn:

    • What racial profiling is, its historical context, and how formal legal codes and public policy generally define it
    • The best methods of data collection and the advantages of collecting racial profiling data
    • How certain challenges can prevent data collection from properly identifying racial profiling or bias-based policing practices
    • Data analysis and methods of determining the validity of the data
    • The impact of pretextual stops and the effect of Whren v. United States

    A compelling account of how minority citizens experience racial profiling and how they ascribe and give meaning to these experiences, the book provides a candid discussion of what the findings of the research mean for the police, racial minority citizens, and future racial profiling research.

    Michael L. Birzer was recently interviewed on public radio about his book, Racial Profiling: They Stopped Me Because I’m ———!

    Table of Contents

    Stylin’ n’ Profilin’
    Richard’s Story
    David’s Story
    Purpose of the Book
    The Cambridge Incident
    Scope of the Problem
    Defining Racial Profiling
    Criminal Profiling
    What’s in a Name?
    Experience Is Powerful
    Putting Racial Profiling into Context
    Vigilante Justice?
    Experience Matters
    A History of Disparate Treatment
    Color by the Numbers
    A Legacy of Racialized Justice
    The Thin Blue Line
    The War on Drugs
    Intensified War Efforts
    Collateral Damage
    Policing and the War
    What about Congress, Data Collection, and the Court?
    Congressional Mandates
    Washington State
    New York
    Police Stop Data
    Data Collection Methods
    Benchmark Data
    External Benchmark Data
    Traffic Surveys
    Internal Benchmarking
    Search Data
    Final Thoughts on Data Collection
    Did the Supreme Court Sanction Racial Profiling?
    The Whren Decision
    Would Have, Could Have, Should Have
    What Would a New Test Look Like?
    Phenomenology as Method in Racial Profiling Research
    Framing the Study
    Alternative Epistemology
    The Paradigm Divide
    Qualitative Research
    Inductive and Deductive Reasoning
    Multiple Data Sources
    The Discovery of Meaning
    Selecting Participants
    A Portrait of the Participants and Setting
    Treatment of Data
    Analyzing Phenomenological Data
    Experiencing Racial Profiling
    Constructing the Stop
    Theme 1: Emotional/Affective
    Theme 2: The Symbolic Vehicle
    Theme 3: Nature of the Traffic Violation
    Theme 4: Officer Demeanor
    Theme 5: Normative Experiences
    Theme 6: Race and Place
    Coercion and Appearance
    Feeling Compelled
    Symbolic Appearance
    Unifying Experience
    Berry’s Story
    Trusting the Data
    Internal Validity
    External Validity
    Face Validity
    Content Validity
    Construct Validity
    Member Checks
    Rich, Thick Descriptions
    Researcher Reflexivity
    Interview Memo
    The Interview
    Descriptive Notes
    Reflective Notes
    Striking Revelations
    Global Conclusions
    Striking Revelations
    The Stop
    You’re Not Supposed To Be Driving Here
    Is It Socioeconomic Class and Not Race?
    The Emotional Roller Coaster
    The Symbolic Hooptie
    How Can You Afford That Car?
    Why You Harassin’ Me, Man?
    Welcome To My World
    I Think of Young Black Males
    Where Do We Go From Here?
    Implications for Police Practice
    Racial Profiling Training
    Cultural Diversity Training
    Fostering Mutual Respect
    Motorist Contacts
    Community Coalitions
    Citizen Review Panel
    Citizen Police Academies
    Racial Profiling Policy
    The Pretext Stop
    The Consent Search
    The Police Warrior Culture
    Community Policing
    Implications for Citizens
    What to Do When Stopped by the Police
    Know Your Rights
    Know Reporting Venues
    Get Involved
    Implications for Research
    Other Research Approaches
    The White Male Researcher
    Establishing Rapport
    Interview Location

    Author Bio(s)

    Michael L. Birzer is the Director of the School of Community Affairs and a professor of criminal justice at Wichita State University. He was recently named a Leadership Fellow at his university. Professor Birzer’s research interests include the intersection of race and the criminal justice system, police behavior and policy, and criminal justice training and education strategies. He is the author or co-author of eight books in such areas as policing, private security, and criminology. Prior to academia, he served more than 18 years with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department in Wichita where he worked in a wide variety of patrol, investigative, supervisory, and management positions.