Not Everyone Thinks Stop and Frisk Is Racial
Our reader survey suggests racial and gender gaps when it comes to thoughts on police and profiling.
Not surprisingly, there was a gender gap in response to questions about being racially profiled. Eighty-seven percent of black males said that they had been unfairly targeted by law enforcement because of their race, compared with 55 percent of black females. The black male-black female divide was also present when it came to how many times they'd been racially profiled by police. The most popular answer among black men -- 38 percent -- was five or more; 11 percent of them said zero. The largest number of black women -- 42 percent -- said zero, while 7 percent of them said five or more.
Their differing experiences with police, however, didn't lead to a rift between black men and black women in their perceptions of law enforcement or stop-and-frisk policies. Ninety-six percent of black men felt that stop and frisk is a pretext for racial profiling, and 98 percent of black women agreed.
The two groups also agreed on their feelings about police, with 49 percent of black men saying that they had a negative view of police, and 46.5 percent of black women saying the same. Along the same lines, 14.5 percent of black men had a positive view of police, while 11.6 percent of black women did.
One common factor regardless of race or gender was parental advice. Nearly 50 percent of all respondents said that their parents had given them instructions on what to do if stopped by police. The most popular tip was to stay calm, cooperate and keep your hands visible.
"They can get me out of jail," one black male respondent wrote of his parents, "but not out of a casket."
Lauren Williams is The Root's deputy editor. Follow her on Twitter.