SOC313H1 Lecture Notes - Toronto Police Service, Toronto Star, Symbolic Interactionism

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25 Apr 2012
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Lecture #11 April 3, 2012
Social Psychological Dimensions of Social Control
Race and Control
- overrepresentation in the prison system
aboriginal 4% general vs. 18% in prison
black: 2% vs. 5%
- prisons don’t reflect the general population
- racial profiling
2002 Toronto Star stories:
o Toronto police service denied racial profiling and hired experts
to critique the Toronto Star stories
one of the problems is how to identify bias, there are a few main
indicators
o how many times drivers of a particular race are stopped and
compare that to the general population, if the numbers don’t
match there is cause for concern
o however there can be other potential explanations for this
difference in numbers, like more patrol cars in areas with high
numbers of that ethnicity etc
o you can also look at drug stops and what the officer chose to do
in certain situations depending on race, whether they let them
go, or brought them in, etc (77% of whites were released at the
scene, compared to 62% of blacks)
critiques
o there can be many other factors that can explain such
differences
o some factors can be correlated with race, but not racial
profiling
evidence
o if after taking into account all the other potential factors that
could affect the numbers, and there is still a significant
difference in numbers then you have evidence of racial
profiling
o they control for demographic factors, and neighbourhood
factors and find that the gaps still exist
o class and age protect white drivers, however it’s the opposite
for black men (a white male driving a nice car is seen as
respectable, whereas a black male driving a nice car is seen as
cause for concern)
o Wortley and Tanner (2003, 2005) 50% of black students
report having been questioned by the police, compared to 23%
of white students, and 11% of Asians)
o racial profiling is more apparent for non-delinquent
individuals, when the groups are delinquent the differences are
less
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