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Sara Ahmadianpour
Professor Batty
ENGL 113A
20 October 2014
Police: Leniency or Brutality?

Police brutality toward African Americans is a strong case which there is plenty of
evidences to prove it. Although this is a historical issue that roots to the American slavery era,
but this event is still happening as a problem in the US society. Sometimes this harshness leads to
the death of innocent people. This is probably because of stereotyping a negative image of
African Americans in US society that cause police to pre-judge them in a crime scene. This is the
obvious example of racism, but the leniency of police`s action toward African American
offenders will perpetuate racism too. In the chosen political cartoon which is drawn by George
Troley, I have exemplified how this gentle action regarding the African American offenders can
also promote racism.
Police`s leniency regarding African American offenders can result for them to take
advantage of their race. In the cartoon, an African American offender is being arrested by the
police outside of the liquor store where a murder took place based on many evidences at the
scene. The door of the liquor store which is located in the left side of the image is open and the
bloody corpses of at least three people are at the store. Blood is splashed and poured everywhere
in the store`s walls, sidewalk in front of the store, and also on the white shirt of the offender, his
pants, and shoes. There are a big knife and some bloody money on the ground that seems that are
felled off from the person`s hand. His slouched position also represents the sense of being guilty
to the bystanders. But, the inconsequent point is that the police officers are treating him in a very
gentle manner. The artist has chosen the sky blue color for the police`s uniform to show their

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calmness regarding to the offender. The officers’ standing position and also sheathed guns
increase the sense of softness for the bystanders. By seeing this scene, the African Americans
seem to use their race as a shield to protect themselves in crime scenes; and, it will result in
promoting racism; because in these situations their race not only was not against them, but
although was beneficial for them.
Not only police`s leniency will extend taking advantage of the racism among African
Americans, but police`s unusual reaction to one issue will increase the public sensitivity to that
particular subject. In the exemplified cartoon, the artist illustrated this fact by showing some
African American people at the right side of the picture who are accusing the police to brutality
in spite of police`s gentle manner; some of them have extravagant behavior while saying that
police is hurting the offender. Using different colors for the people`s clothes shows that this
belief is common among different groups of African Americans. Also, the offender is
misrepresenting the actions of the officers by posing like innocent person and pretending that
they are hurting his wrists; these are quite normal reactions of people to what police do. In other
example, Brent Staples, in his essay “Black Man and Public Spaces” demonstrates the sensitivity
of African Americans to the issue of racism because of police`s unusual manner; he points out to
the time when police arrested him mistakenly instead of a burglar when he was in hurry to go to
the magazine office. “One day, rushing into the office of a magazine I was writing for with a
deadline story in hand, I was mistaken for a burglar. The office manager called security and, with
an ad hoc posse, pursued me through the labyrinthine halls” (75 Thematic Readings: An
Anthology, 185). This event happened because of prejudge of police about an African American
man just because of his skin color and race. When people of one society become sensitive to one
issue, it is more difficult to deal with that particular subject; this happens because of presume of

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people regarding to that event. So, for fighting with the issue of racism police should not make
people sensitive to this issue by doing unusual actions regarding their race.
Also, police`s leniency toward one particular race will make other races resentment
regarding that race. In the cartoon, we see a white man in the right side of the liquor store
building secretly is recording the event with video camera. It shows that public are watching
police`s unusual action regarding to one particular race. It will generate all other races to have
resentment towards African Americans. It is obvious that the main cause of this division among
society is police in this case; and it makes people distrust the police. People of different races
will not see each other as a whole society anymore; because they see that police has not the same
treating regarding people; and the main reason for this different behavior is the color of the skin
and specifically race. This will promote racism; because, people of this society always keep in
mind their races; and, it will make difficult dealing with the issue of racism in such a society.
In conclusion, the police should not fight with the issue of racism by having lenient
actions towards the African American offenders because it will result in taking advantage of the
racism issue by African Americans, and also increasing the sensitivity of the African American
population towards the issue of racism; also it will make other races have resentment towards
African Americans. All of these events will perpetuate racism which is unpleasant for every
society. The common request of people in each society is to be treated the same as other people.
Government can fight with racism neither by police brutality nor by police leniency toward
African American; the only way to fight with racism, is to deal with African American offenders
like other races. This will make all people including African Americans, Caucasians, Latinos, and
every other race fell happy and safe beside each other. In my opinion justice is the key to
achieving a racist free society.

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Work Cited
Troley, George. Cartoon. Manlyexcellence.com. Forum. Web. 15 May. 2009.
http://manlyexcellence.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3667#p97813

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Staples, Brent. “Black Men In Public Spaces.” 75 Thematic Reading an Anthology. Lisa Moore.
New York: McGraw Hill, 2003. 182-186. Print.

Appendix

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