PERCEPTION OF CULTURAL DIFFERENCES AMONG SELECTED BLACK AND WHITE POLICE OFFICERS: A SOCIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS (NEIGHBORHOOD, NEW YORK)

JOHN CERKY, Fordham University

Abstract

This research analyzes the perceptual differences of Black and White Police Officers who recollect their experiences in a predominantly Black Community. It examines the degree to which these diverse perceptions are associated with their responses to the usages and practices of social life in a poor, Black neighborhood, to see if indeed, a differential understanding of the Community by Black and White Officers, results in a difference of Police behavior.^ The difficulty between the Police and Black citizens is generally one of communication, but ordinarily overlooked, is the cultural difference that is inherent in area residents which carries over into all phases of life in the ghetto. Do Black Officers respond to this differently than White Officers?^ This study seeks not only to ascertain if there is a difference between the perceptions of Blacks and Whites, but also between the generations of Officers, those assigned between 1950-1960 and those assigned since 1980.^ The method used to examine this problem was a selection of interviews with Black and White Police Officers who worked in a principally Black Police Precinct in Brooklyn almost a generation ago, and a like amount of interviews with Officers who currently work in that same Precinct.^ The findings indicate that there is a difference in perceptions of the ghetto community and this influenced their response to the Black Community. More significant was the finding that middle class Black Officers found the Black Community as difficult to understand as the Whites. Briefly the difference in class between Black Officers and the Black Community was almost as significant as the difference of race.^ The data very clearly show that there are similar differences in perceptions between the two generations of interviewees. Both Blacks and Whites of the 1980 period have different perceptions of the Black Community and respond to it differently than Black and White Officers of the 1950 period.^ The findings should provide assistance in the training of Officers to work among people of a culture or class different than their own. ^

Subject Area

Black Studies|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

JOHN CERKY, "PERCEPTION OF CULTURAL DIFFERENCES AMONG SELECTED BLACK AND WHITE POLICE OFFICERS: A SOCIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS (NEIGHBORHOOD, NEW YORK)" (January 1, 1985). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8521407.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8521407

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