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Patricia Mendoza

Mrs. Thomas

UWRT 1103-1004

Annotated Bibliographies

Annotated Bibliography 5

Carbado, Devon W. and Patrick Rock. "What Exposes African Americans to Police Violence?."

Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, vol. 51, no. 1, Winter2016, pp. 159-187.

Devon W. Carbado, Professors of Law at UCLA School of Law, and Patrick Rock, PhD

student from the UCLA Department of Psychology wrote this journal to describe why exactly it

is that African Americans are exposed to police violence more than other races tend to be. This

summary will focus on the first part of the journal, titled: How racial biases produce police

violence (pg.167-173). The authors begin by stating that deriving from theories such as that of

the broken windows theory, African Americans tend to be disproportionately more exposed to

police and that ongoing exposure to the police puts its members within reach of police violence

and makes them highly salient as targets. They then explain that because African Americans are

seen as dangerous and violent, this is in part reason to why a black person would be stopped by

the police in the first place. Data on disparities in frisks and use of force with black men suggests

that even when officers approach a black man and find no evidence of wrongdoing, officers often

prolong or escalate the encounter rather than terminate it.

The authors use psychological evidence that backs up these claims, considering first

shooter bias. Here, social psychologists measure how quickly participants respond to images of

black and white men pictured in one of two scenarios: holding a violent object (for example, a
gun) or a non-violent object (for example, a cell phone). More precisely, participants are asked to

shoot the men holding violent objects and not shoot the men holding non-violent objects.

Both the shooting and the non-shooting responses require the participant to press a particular

key on the keyboard. The basic finding is that participants are faster to shoot blacks with guns

than whites with guns, and faster to not shoot whites without guns than blacks without guns.

One way to read these findings would be to suggest that it easier for participants to perceive that

a black person is armed than it is for them to perceive that a white person is armed, and easier for

them to perceive that a white person is unarmed than it is for them to perceive that a black person

is unarmed.

Another connection between race and violence the authors point out is that faces of black

men attract more visual attention from white respondents than comparable faces of white men.

Meaning that blacks in America have become so associated with danger that even viewing them

has come to trigger the same kind of threatened awareness we get when faced with real danger.

To summarize, the more associated police officers become with black men, the more

criminalized they begin to look in their eyes and the greater the likelihood that these black men

may become victims or police abuse. The authors overall state that black men are almost

automatically linked with danger, suspicion, and violence in in the eyes of (not all) but many

officers and that this is one reason why they are exposed to more police violence than other


Other Quotes:
In other words, a black man who is providing literally no evidence of threat is

nonetheless likely to attract the attention of police officers, so ingrained are the

stereotypes linking him with threat.

Police interactions may help to entrench the very racial stereotypes on which

those interactions are based.

The broader point we are making is that racial biases, including but not limited

to stereotypes, are an important mediating factor between police contact and police



This article is one that I want to use in my paper when I speak police and racial profiling. Some

parts of the article were a bit challenging to understand but after reading them two or three times,

it became a lot more easier to understand. I agree with many of the points made in the article in

that I believe that racial stereotypes definitely have an effect on how a police officer will interact

with a black man. Also some of the experiments that were used as examples were very

interesting because Id never heard of any of them and it was very effective how the authors

spoke of a particular claim, added an example, and then concluded the claim. This is a pattern I

noticed throughout the whole article and thought worked pretty well.