Chanelle Ferguson, Prairie View A&M University

African American adolescents’ perceptions of police officers:  A preliminary investigation

Abstract: Using platforms such as social media, police brutality and racial profiling have been current topics within African American communities. Popular cases involving the killings of innocent black men and women at the hands of white police officers have impacted many African American households and their views on police officers. This study investigates how parental messages about race influences the African American adolescent’s views towards police officers. Using a nationally representative sample of African American adolescents and Caribbean Black adolescents from the National Survey of American Life, this research examines racial socialization messages of African American adolescents and how they influence their attitudes towards law enforcement.  While considering that there are a variety of messages a parent or guardian can communicate about race, it is predicted that African American adolescents who are racially socialized through messages supporting pride in being black, may be more likely to have trust issues and/or dislike police members. We also predict that African American adolescents who are racially socialized through messages aimed to de-emphasize the significance of race or being black, may be more likely to trust or admire police members.  Regression models will be used to assess racial socialization practices and African American adolescents’ perceptions toward law enforcement.  Implications for key stakeholders will be addressed.

Presentation Author(s):
Chanelle Ferguson*, Dr. Pamela Martin

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