Police vs. Minorities

by MarilynRaimondo on September 9, 2015 - 1:51pm

Marilyn Raimondo

September 9, 2015

Police vs. Minorities

In the article entitled “Sandra Bland Was Threatened with Taser, Police Video Shows”, (New York Times, July 21 2015), David Montgomery explains the case of a 28 years old African-American woman named Sandra Bland, pulled over by an officer on July 10th because she did not signal a lane change. The author states that the dashboard camera video shows how the arrest escalated to another level when the officer threatened Ms. Bland with a stun gun. Sandra Bland was asked to put down her cigarette by the state trooper, and she refused. Trooper Encinia thought she was irritated and uncooperative. According to the officer, his safety was in danger so he decided to place her in handcuffs. Montgomery mentions that she was put on the ground, and that the officer knocked her head as he slammed Ms. Bland. She was taken into custody, and was found dead in her cell three days after her suspicious arrest. The author explains how officer Encinia’s behavior during Ms. Bland arrest violated the department of arrest procedures according to the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Steven McCraw. This controversial case created a lot of questions towards people on social media about how Ms. Bland’s race might have played a role in this case.

I believe that the fact that Sandra Bland was an African-American woman influenced her custody. The way that the officer acted during the arrest of Ms. Bland was not politically correct because it violated the department of arrest procedures. In my opinion, arresting someone because they are African-American or any other race is not justifiable. I agree with the author, David Montgomery, when he mentions that Sandra Bland should have never been in prison. The trooper seems to target black people because he has been suspended from work after he was accused of racism back in 2007. Yet, race has nothing to do with the way Ms. Bland behaved with the officer. Just like Diamond states in his article entitled “Race without Color”; one should not make generalization regarding races because there is danger in racial stereotyping. Obviously, there is a stereotype about black people who are more likely to be suspected of any crime. Considering that the young woman was particularly targeted by the officer, racial stereotyping probably led the death of this young woman. The article “Sandra Bland Was Threatened with Taser, Police Video Shows” clearly enhances the reader’s understanding of the concept of race because it makes us understand how racism played a major role in the tragic death of the young woman. So many people looked into this case and talked about it on media, and it really helps considering how race is still a big problem for some people. According to me, Sandra Bland was considered as a minority for officer Encinia, and he took advantage of it. In my beliefs, skin color has nothing to do way the way one acts. A lot of people shared their opinion about this story, and the majority agrees that this case is controversial because it probably would have been different if Sandra Bland would have been part of a different race.

David Montgomery. (2015) .Sandra Bland Was Threatened with Taser, Police Video Shows .The New York Times. Retrieved 9 September, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/22/us/sandra-bland-was-combative-texas-arrest-report-says.html?_r=1




Police vs. Minorities

Good read. I’m very happy that you chose to write about Sandra Bland. You raise an important point: Bland shouldn’t have been stopped and arrested in the first place over such minor a traffic violation. For this reason, it must be asked why Bland ended up dead in her jail cell, and how the intersectional approach to feminism is crucial to recognizing the struggles that black women face on a daily basis.

Intersectionality demonstrates how forms of discrimination, such as sexism and racism, reinforce each other. For instance, being both black and a woman has historically puts black women at the bottom of the social spectrum. The consequences of this oppression sadly lives on today. Since Bland was a black woman in the Southern United States, it is not surprising that she was stopped by the police in the first place. This is why the intersectional approach to feminism is important: not all women share the same exact struggles as each other.

Different factors, such as race, gender and class all play a vital role in determining where one lands in society. Black women, such as Bland, are often mistreated both because of their gender and race. In Bland’s case, perhaps her perceived lower socio-economic status, along with her skin colour and gender, prompted the officer to stop her in the first place. Thus, Bland’s case is an example of a struggle that black women face more frequently than other women. Therefore, intersectionality in feminism encourages and allows the unique experiences of women of colour to be heard. Hopefully, change in perception and dialogue can pursue.

Here is something that might interest you:

Great post. I am interested in this post because I remember when it happened. As I was watching this report on CNN, I sat there in amazement, yet another incident with a white cop and an African American person. It seems that things like this just keep happening over and over, and it does not seem like it will stop. I share the same opinion as you do. I think that her arrest was ridiculous. When I was watching it on t.v, I could not believe what I was seeing. A women in her own car, being forced to put out her cigarette, refusing, and having a teaser pointed at her for that reason, and then being taken down to jail. The amount of white officers shooting/arresting African American people is unbelievable. If you are interested, here is a link to a video of a cop shooting and killing a black man for no good reason. I thought this video was good because it happened in the same month as your post was talking about.


Well written article, with a great topic.

I believe many factors played a role in this tragedy. Some relating to Sandra herself as well as the police officer.

First off, Sandra Bland was a black African-American woman, but was also a black rights activist. It is very unlikely that the cop knew that, although may still have affected that outcome. When the officer told Sandra to put out her cigarette, he had no lawful right to force her. Sandra most likely was aware of this and did not want to be a part of the abuse of power police often commit ain the mistreatment of minorities. Therefore she refused, the cop took this as her undermining of his authority and did not like this. He wanted to impose his dominance in some way which is why he made it escalate. This can be related to what people call the "man box". Which are certain traits that traditional men should have, one of which is dominance.

Secondly, the issue is intersectionality which also plays a role. It is when deferent forms of discrimination overlap each other. In this case misogyny and racism. Already being a black person you are part of a minority, but being a black female is part of an even smaller and more targeted minority. So the fact that she wasn't following every order definitely bothered him much more than if it were another race or gender.

All these issues need to be addressed if we, as a society want to undergo a noticeable and sustainable change. I hope most realize this change is necessary. A percentage of the people who are hired, trained and payed to protect civilians sometimes do more harm than good to the civilians they are there to protect. Even worse the issue at large is an intersectional problem. I am optimistic, since so many people acknowledge the issue. So by spreading the awareness in any means possible, you are countering it, which I thank you for.