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Black Police, White Society

Steven Leinen

Publication Year: 1985

"Extremely informative. . . deserves a wide readership, both inside and outside police departments."
Publishers Weekly

"An imaginative and insightful account of the day-to-day life of the black police officer in a large urban environment. A must read for all police officers, white as well as black."
—Marvin Blue
President, Guardians Association
New York City Police Department

". . . well written and achieves its purpose. It will be of interest to specialists and students of race relations, urban problems, and criminal justice issues."br>—Library Journal

This book is about the world of black police in New York City: who they are, how they work with the department, how they are recruited by whites, how they are treated in turn by their fellow blacks, and how they operate day by day in the richest as well as the poorest parts of the city.

Leinen provides direct quotations from police, citizens, city administrators, and street hustlers, as well as detailed assessments of encounters in the everyday relations between police and the public.

Published by: NYU Press

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pp. ix-x

I wish to express my appreciation and deep sense of gratitude to those friends and colleagues at Queens College who patiently read and provided assistance and input into this book: Professors Paul Blumberg, Dean Savage, Steve Cohen, Lauren Seiler and Mike Brown. l owe a special debt of gratitude to Professor Bernard ...

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pp. 1-8

Black Police, White Society is a book about the working world of the black police officer. The idea for the book, as well as the research for it, came from my own experience as a member of the New York City police department (NYPD). In the mid-1960s I worked in the NYPD as a uniformed police officer, then as a detective ...

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pp. 9-12

From the time blacks first joined the New York City police force until fairly recently, whites have maintained a position of dominance, relegating blacks to subordinate roles and denying them access to job opportunities and advancement. Thus the first blacks to enter the New York City police department at ...

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Chapter 1. Patterns of Discrimination

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pp. 13-37

Discrimination against black police in this country, legitimated by traditional police norms and supported to a large extent by a pervasive racial ideology, was perhaps nowhere more evidently demonstrated than in the common practice in the past of denying black cops any opportunity to work in white communities. Several studies have noted that in most cities ...

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Chapter 2. On the Job: Perceptions within the NYPD

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pp. 38-94

Earlier we presented racial data for the NYPD from a number of sources including government reports, newspapers, and the department's Office of Equal Employment Opportunity. These data, while revealing the statistical accomplishments (and failures) of black police officers over the past decade or so, do not tell us how black officers themselves perceive ...

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In Part I we considered a number of key political, social, and legal developments of the past two decades to uncover their effect on traditional patterns of racial discrimination in American police agencies. We then examined the views of 46 black policemen in New York City concerning the treatment they felt they received from white police occupying both formal and informal ...

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Chapter 3. Forces Favoring Improved Relations

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pp. 97-116

As we have indicated, the 1960s and early 1970s were periods marked by broad and far-reaching challenges to traditional racial policies and practices. These challenges were divided along two major lines; one essentially conservative in character, the other more radical. The early civil rights movement was basically...

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Chapter 4. Forces Against Improved Relations

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pp. 117-132

A number of the men interviewed, a minority of them, rather strongly rejected the notion that working relations between black and white police have improved significantly in recent years. These men, nine of the 46, testified that conflict and division along racial lines continue to exist in their commands, a continuance they largely attribute to the ...

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Chapter 5. The Variable Nature of Police Race Relations

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pp. 133-158

A third group of black police officers - 17 men in all - were inclined to reject the notion that relationships on the job could be explained exclusively in black-white terms. They felt that such simplistic generalizations masked the complex nature of human interaction and in the process ignored other basic determinants of attraction and rejection in the work ...

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pp. 159-162

The quality of the relationship between the police and the members of any particular community has essentially depended upon the extent to which cultural values and beliefs held by the two groups have tended to converge. The problem in many urban centers, and especially within racial ghettos, is that there ...

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Chapter 6. Images, Attitudes, and Expectations

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pp. 163-196

As members of a public service organization interacting on a frequent and continuous basis with their clientele, police have become highly sensitized to the attitudes of people living within their precinct and can readily distinguish favorable from unfavorable ones. But occupational affiliation does more than just alert police to particular community attitudes; it also sensitizes ...

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Chapter 7. The Police Role in the Black Community

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pp. 197-242

Our concerns are with the way black police perceive their role in ghetto communities, with the expectations black citizens attach to the police mission, and whether or not these coincide. we also discuss some of the problems black (and white) police routinely face in attempting to meet the demands of the black community for greater police protection as well as the ...

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pp. 243-276

In this book I have attempted to report on the accomplishments and failures of black policemen during a period of massive social change by drawing upon material found in journals, newspapers, books, and department documents. But mostly I have relied upon a long series of interviews with 46 black New York City policemen who, by and large, were quite willing to tell me how they are ...


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pp. 277-280

E-ISBN-13: 9780814765036
E-ISBN-10: 0814765033
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814750179
Print-ISBN-10: 0814750176

Page Count: 290
Publication Year: 1985