AFRICAN AND AFRO-CARIBBEAN IMMIGRANT AND DIASPORA PERSPECTIVES OF POLICE VIOLENCE “IT’S ABOUT CULTURE, NOT RACE”
Meshesha, Bemnet Tadesse
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Police violence with minority communities in the U.S. is a growing problem and has gained a lot of national attention in recent years. While the issue seems to be prevalent in the country, the current means to track the data on excessive use of force or deadly encounters by police is lacking because police departments report voluntarily. The Justice Department has announced recent initiatives to better track this information but news agencies like The Guardian and The Washington Post have taken on the role of documenting these encounters and keeping the public and even federal agencies informed thus far. While data tracking is improving, the perceptions by minority communities of police violence is largely unexplored. People of color, particularly Black people, tend to be central characters in narratives about police violence yet their view on the matter is often overlooked. While race has proven to be an important predictor of satisfaction with police, the understanding of racial identity has been sparse. Black is not monolithic so while the perspectives of Black immigrants and diasporans on police violence may vary greatly, studies exploring these views are almost non-existent. Differences in culture, language, immigration status and country of origin could contribute to a difference in perspectives and experiences with police violence. This study sought to capture and understand the views and experiences of African and Afro-Caribbean immigrant and diasporans through qualitative interviews. Utilizing Critical Race as the primary theory and Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis as the method for analyzing the data, five primary themes and twelve subthemes emerged. While the results were interesting and affirmed findings in other studies, differences emerged between participants by age.