Black to Blue and White to Fright: Examining the Importance of Minority Representation for Racial Profiling in Policing Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Roach, Kevin
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • What role does racial diversity in police agencies have on racially discriminatory practices? This paper will focus on the link between police agency demographics and racially discriminatory policing. I will argue that a more diverse police force can in fact make racial discrimination worse. Minority officers undergo organizational socialization, a process by which new members of an organization are taught the organization’s values in place of their own. This process affects the link between demographic representation and policy outputs in policing, but this effect depends on the racial composition of the jurisdiction in question, with the effect being higher in cities with a low minority population. I will also consider the reaction of bureaucrats who belong to a racial majority to a diversifying workplace. Minority threat theory suggests that majority group members will react negatively to a growing minority population, increasing racial disparities. This relationship will be mediated by the racial composition of the jurisdiction as well, with the effect being more prominent in cities with a small minority population. I test these arguments using a newly collected database of traffic stop outcomes, from which I create an index for racial discriminatory practices in a given police department. I find that the effect of increasing diversity in police forces interacts with the share of Black population in the city they serve. In line with my expectations, I find that in cities with a small Black population, increasing the diversity of the police force is associated with more racial disparities; in cities with a large minority population, new minority officers have no effect on racial disparities. I then discuss the implications of these findings and future avenues of research.
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  • In Copyright
  • Clark, Christopher
  • Benjamin, Andrea
  • Baumgartner, Frank
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017

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