Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter — parallels and progress

Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter — parallels and progress

Image 20151031 16532 vszynq.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Millions March Texas.
Elizabeth Brossa/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

Comparing the 1960s and 1970s Black Panther Party and today’s Black Lives Matter movement reveals parallels and progress.

Stanley Nelson’s recently released film The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution juxtaposes the party’s justice movement against the Black Lives Matter protest campaign.

Conceived about 50 years apart, both Black Lives Matter and the Black Panther Party for Self Defense galvanized frustration with police brutality against black people in the US.

Alicia Garza created Black Lives Matter, with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, as a call to action after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for killing 17-year-old unarmed Trayvon Martin in 2013. The Black Panther Party was formed, in part, in reaction to the police killing of Matthew Johnson, an unarmed black 16-year-old, in San Francisco in 1966.

The commonalities between Black Lives Matter and the Black Panther Party are more striking when they are compared to the mid-20th-century civil rights movement, which took place when segregation was legal and black people protested politely and defensively.

Looking ‘proper’

According to filmmaker Stanley Nelson, it was important for civil rights leaders to win the hearts and minds of the press, a majority white American public, and a cautious black middle class. In an interview with NPR, he goes on to explain that civil rights organizers insisted, “‘we’re going to look proper…’ to show the difference between them and the mobs that would be chasing them or screaming at them.”

The Black Panthers were not interested in mainstream press or general public approval. They had their own newspaper designed, art-directed and heavily illustrated by Black Panther Party artist and Minister of Culture Emory Douglas. It showed images that would never appear in the mainstream press.

As I observed in a 2007 essay on Douglas’s work:

“Part of Douglas’s genius was that he used the visually seductive methods of advertising and subverted them into weapons of the revolution. His images served two purposes: to illustrate conditions that made revolution a reasonable response and to construct a visual mythology of power for people who felt powerless and victimized.”

_Black Panther _newspaper cover 1968.
© 2015 / Emory Douglas / Artists Rights Society, New York
Time magazine cover April 2015.

The Black Panther newspaper showed photographic evidence of police brutality along with editorial drawings and cartoons illustrating black people fighting back.

Black Lives Matter uses cellphone photographs, videos and commentary that often quickly go viral through social media.

Each movement used available media to reach broad constituencies and stimulate action.

The Panthers’ messages were instructive, visual, and covered a range of ambitions, included in the party’s 10-point platform.

The phrase “Black Lives Matter” may seem deceptively simple to those who receive the words as a veiled threat. Perhaps they believe that equality has been achieved and systemic and institutionalized racism no longer exist.

In the 50 years since segregation and legal discrimination ended and the US tried to “move past” its racist history, much of that history was ignored and effectively forgotten. Blacks and whites have differing perceptions of how much progress has been made on racial equality. Polls show that white millennials have about the same racial viewpoints as baby boomers.

This racial knowledge vacuum does not allow some people to believe that black people and other people of color are routinely treated more harshly by police and law enforcement officers. Black Lives Matter’s insistence on presenting evidence of inequality is disturbing to these deniers.

At the time of the Black Panthers, just a few years after civil rights legislation, most black people still lived in poverty with substandard everything – from housing to schools to health care. Even though the political establishment disagreed on what should be done to change it, no one denied there was a problem.

Disruption and pushback

As activist Deray McKesson points out, “protest is confrontation and disruption.” In addition to protesting at the time and scene of controversial police events, Black Lives Matter protesters disrupt everyday life and activities, which creates pushback.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton responded to last summer’s #BlackFair protest against the small number of black vendors at the state fair by saying, “I just think the way they’re proposing to deal with it is irresponsible.” Another peaceful protest for Black Lives Matter at the Twin Cities Marathon on October 4 2015 brought disagreement between supporters of the movement. Ashley Oliver, a member of Black Lives Matter in Minneapolis and legal chairwoman of the city’s NAACP chapter, told the Star Tribune newspaper that disrupting the marathon was the wrong way to get the group’s message out. “Our message will get lost,” she claimed.

Black Lives Matter organizer Netta Elize explained why the protests must happen at seemingly nonrelated events. She said, “Black people in the US do not have free space to live. The ability to participate in everyday activities without having to think about race is a privilege.”

In their time, the Panthers were marginalized and vilified, limiting their main sphere of public operations to college campuses and other left-friendly venues. Only the most fear-producing images of Panthers appeared in mainstream press, reiterating the FBI’s claim that the organization was the greatest threat to national security.

A group of Seattle Panthers on the steps of the Capitol in Olympia.
Seattle Black Panther Party History and Memory Project

Visual tactics

Like the Black Panther Party, Black Lives Matter protesters use elements of “visual theater.” The Panthers’ carefully constructed visual presence included uniforms for members, creating icons for party members that represented strength, purpose, and discipline. As Stanley Nelson’s film points out, the Panthers understood media and the power of visual images.

Black Lives Matter uses visual tactics such as light brigades and more theatrical “die-ins,” to convey an omnipresent threat of violence or death.

People taking part in a Black Lives Matter demonstration stage a
Original image, 1976. © 2015 / Emory Douglas / Artists Rights Society, New York.

To comment on current conditions for black people in the US, artist Emory Douglas repurposed one of his drawings – 39 years after its original appearance in November 1976 in the pages of The Black Panther newspaper – to promote Black Lives Matter.

The original image, he said, was about justice in general, not a specific event. In the new version, Douglas made the scales of justice even larger.The Conversation

Colette Gaiter, Associate Professor, Department of Art and Design, University of Delaware

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

As a Black high school teacher — and a mother of sons — this is my urgent message

As a Black high school teacher — and a mother of sons — this is my urgent message

This article originally appeared on Chalkbeat Indiana


George Floyd’s senseless death has set my soul on fire.

I like to think that I am an objective, rational person. I never hitch rides on bandwagons, and I always want to know both sides of an issue before forming an opinion, and then I usually only share it with close friends and family.

But the death of George Floyd was so disgusting and incomprehensible to me that I feel compelled to use my voice, since his has been extinguished. His senseless death has set my soul on fire.

Courtesy Photo Nikia D. Garland

I am a Black educator, and I know that brutality against Black people by the police and the world at large is nothing new. In 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which made the federal government accountable for locating, returning, and trying slaves that had successfully escaped. We may have been “free” since 1865, but we are still being hunted by bigots who feel obligated to return us to our “rightful” state of bondage or death.

It does not matter the perceived offense. Whether we are walking through a neighborhood where we live, selling cigarettes, watching birds, jogging, sleeping, playing with a toy gun, partying, getting a traffic ticket, lawfully carrying a weapon, shopping, reading, decorating for a party, relaxing at home, asking for help after being in a car accident, holding a cell phone, playing loud music, going to church, riding in a car, or breathing, our existence spurs the hate-mongers into action. It’s troubling and just plain sad.

There has never been a time in my life that I have not been aware of the color of my skin. During my freshman year at Broad Ripple High School, I was waiting outside — ironically, under the flag — for my stepfather to pick me up after ballet rehearsal. A car sped down the avenue, and a man screamed, “Go home, n—!” I graduated high school exactly 24 years ago, and I still recall that incident vividly.

Even today, as someone with several degrees, I am never quite certain if I am viewed as credible by white counterparts. I recently declined a position at a primarily white and affluent school to avoid dealing with racist attitudes. I understood that I would be challenged more than my white colleagues on pedagogical style and content knowledge, and I did not wish to fight that battle daily.

I have to fight as a parent, too. I have two sons, ages 21 and 10, and I have explicitly taught them how to interact with law enforcement. My older son knows to always remain calm, keep quiet unless addressed, and to be compliant. The objective for him is to leave any encounter with the police alive.

When my older son initially received his driver’s license, he did not come to a complete halt at a stop sign and received a hefty ticket. When I reviewed the ticket, I noticed it had him listed as white. I couldn’t help but wonder if that mistake had spared him harm. This is why we discuss high-profile murders and systemic racism: so that they both may understand the severity of what they are facing as Black men in America.

Each death highlights the urgency of my message. That doesn’t mean I teach that all police officers are dangerous. One of our neighbors, a white male police officer, is friendly and kind. But my sons cannot count on such treatment in America.

My daily response to this violence is to tie social justice into every facet of my high school English curriculum. My students have read about the murder of Emmett Till, responding in disbelief when I displayed the photograph of his grotesque corpse for a stream-of-consciousness writing session. We have read the story of Amadou Diallo, watched William Bonilla perform his poem “41 Shots,” and listened to the Springsteen song “American Skin.” We have read articles and watched “Fruitvale Station” to process the life and untimely demise of Oscar Grant. We used the New York Times’ 1619 Project as a prelude to reading “Kindred.” We have also combed through Brent Staples’ profound personal essay, “Just Walk On By,” which outlines his brushes with racism and how he has chosen to cope.

As an educator, I simply cannot ignore my civic duty to address current events relevant to my students. My Black students have to be taught how to “read” the world in order to navigate its mainly hostile terrain. They need to know who they are historically and culturally. And my students have truly appreciated my willingness to set aside “traditional” topics and tackle ones that matter to them and their futures.

Not having an opportunity for a face-to-face discussion with my students now, because of the coronavirus, is painful. No matter how school takes place in the fall, whether it be in the traditional setting, online, or a hybrid, this will be a first priority.

As we move forward, it would be wise to remember the words of the Holocaust and writer Elie Wiesel, who said, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. The opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference.”

Sometimes we ignore what is taking place in our society no matter how vile and overt it is merely because it is uncomfortable to take action, and we “have no skin in the game.” My two precious Black sons, my Black family members and friends, and all the Black students that I teach are my skin in the game. And there is no denying that our skin, Black skin, is simply the most dangerous skin in the game.

But we all have skin in the game as Americans, and this is a fight that Black people cannot win alone. We need all our white allies to stand alongside us. White friends and colleagues, I challenge you to speak up. Use any platform you have, whether it be posting on social media, writing letters to the editor, contacting your members of Congress, participating in peaceful protests, organizing protests, informing yourself on the issues at hand, creating petitions, or talking with your children.

Enough is enough. It’s time to refuse to be silent in the face of injustice.

Nikia D. Garland is an English teacher and an adjunct professor who resides in Indianapolis.

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.

As a Black high school teacher — and a mother of sons — this is my urgent message

As a Black high school teacher — and a mother of sons — this is my urgent message

This article originally appeared on Chalkbeat Indiana


George Floyd’s senseless death has set my soul on fire.

I like to think that I am an objective, rational person. I never hitch rides on bandwagons, and I always want to know both sides of an issue before forming an opinion, and then I usually only share it with close friends and family.

But the death of George Floyd was so disgusting and incomprehensible to me that I feel compelled to use my voice, since his has been extinguished. His senseless death has set my soul on fire.

Courtesy Photo Nikia D. Garland

I am a Black educator, and I know that brutality against Black people by the police and the world at large is nothing new. In 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which made the federal government accountable for locating, returning, and trying slaves that had successfully escaped. We may have been “free” since 1865, but we are still being hunted by bigots who feel obligated to return us to our “rightful” state of bondage or death.

It does not matter the perceived offense. Whether we are walking through a neighborhood where we live, selling cigarettes, watching birds, jogging, sleeping, playing with a toy gun, partying, getting a traffic ticket, lawfully carrying a weapon, shopping, reading, decorating for a party, relaxing at home, asking for help after being in a car accident, holding a cell phone, playing loud music, going to church, riding in a car, or breathing, our existence spurs the hate-mongers into action. It’s troubling and just plain sad.

There has never been a time in my life that I have not been aware of the color of my skin. During my freshman year at Broad Ripple High School, I was waiting outside — ironically, under the flag — for my stepfather to pick me up after ballet rehearsal. A car sped down the avenue, and a man screamed, “Go home, n—!” I graduated high school exactly 24 years ago, and I still recall that incident vividly.

Even today, as someone with several degrees, I am never quite certain if I am viewed as credible by white counterparts. I recently declined a position at a primarily white and affluent school to avoid dealing with racist attitudes. I understood that I would be challenged more than my white colleagues on pedagogical style and content knowledge, and I did not wish to fight that battle daily.

I have to fight as a parent, too. I have two sons, ages 21 and 10, and I have explicitly taught them how to interact with law enforcement. My older son knows to always remain calm, keep quiet unless addressed, and to be compliant. The objective for him is to leave any encounter with the police alive.

When my older son initially received his driver’s license, he did not come to a complete halt at a stop sign and received a hefty ticket. When I reviewed the ticket, I noticed it had him listed as white. I couldn’t help but wonder if that mistake had spared him harm. This is why we discuss high-profile murders and systemic racism: so that they both may understand the severity of what they are facing as Black men in America.

Each death highlights the urgency of my message. That doesn’t mean I teach that all police officers are dangerous. One of our neighbors, a white male police officer, is friendly and kind. But my sons cannot count on such treatment in America.

My daily response to this violence is to tie social justice into every facet of my high school English curriculum. My students have read about the murder of Emmett Till, responding in disbelief when I displayed the photograph of his grotesque corpse for a stream-of-consciousness writing session. We have read the story of Amadou Diallo, watched William Bonilla perform his poem “41 Shots,” and listened to the Springsteen song “American Skin.” We have read articles and watched “Fruitvale Station” to process the life and untimely demise of Oscar Grant. We used the New York Times’ 1619 Project as a prelude to reading “Kindred.” We have also combed through Brent Staples’ profound personal essay, “Just Walk On By,” which outlines his brushes with racism and how he has chosen to cope.

As an educator, I simply cannot ignore my civic duty to address current events relevant to my students. My Black students have to be taught how to “read” the world in order to navigate its mainly hostile terrain. They need to know who they are historically and culturally. And my students have truly appreciated my willingness to set aside “traditional” topics and tackle ones that matter to them and their futures.

Not having an opportunity for a face-to-face discussion with my students now, because of the coronavirus, is painful. No matter how school takes place in the fall, whether it be in the traditional setting, online, or a hybrid, this will be a first priority.

As we move forward, it would be wise to remember the words of the Holocaust and writer Elie Wiesel, who said, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. The opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference.”

Sometimes we ignore what is taking place in our society no matter how vile and overt it is merely because it is uncomfortable to take action, and we “have no skin in the game.” My two precious Black sons, my Black family members and friends, and all the Black students that I teach are my skin in the game. And there is no denying that our skin, Black skin, is simply the most dangerous skin in the game.

But we all have skin in the game as Americans, and this is a fight that Black people cannot win alone. We need all our white allies to stand alongside us. White friends and colleagues, I challenge you to speak up. Use any platform you have, whether it be posting on social media, writing letters to the editor, contacting your members of Congress, participating in peaceful protests, organizing protests, informing yourself on the issues at hand, creating petitions, or talking with your children.

Enough is enough. It’s time to refuse to be silent in the face of injustice.

Nikia D. Garland is an English teacher and an adjunct professor who resides in Indianapolis.

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.

There are many leaders of today’s protest movement – just like the civil rights movement

There are many leaders of today’s protest movement – just like the civil rights movement

Video Courtesy of Politico


The recent wave of protests against police brutality and systemic racism has inspired numerous comparisons with the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

Commentators frequently depict the charismatic leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X in sharp contrast with the decentralized and seemingly leaderless nature of the current movement.

Despite the efforts of activists and historians to correct this “leaderless” image, the notion persists. Such comparisons reflect the cultural memory – not the actual history – of the struggle for Black equality.

American Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., flanked by Rev. Ralph Abernathy (center left) and Nobel Prize-winning political scientist and diplomat Ralph Bunche (center right) during the third Selma to Montgomery, Alabama march for voting rights, March 21, 1965. PhotoQuest/Getty Images

Heroic struggle led by charismatic men

Through collective remembering and forgetting, societies build narratives of the past to create a shared identity – what scholars refer to as cultural memory.

The civil rights movement is remembered as a heroic struggle against injustice led by charismatic men. That is not the whole story.

King’s soaring rhetoric and Malcolm’s unflinching social critiques have supplanted recollection of the significant work performed by legions of local leaders, whose grassroots organizational style more closely resembled the efforts of Black Lives Matter activists and other contemporary social justice groups to build movements full of leaders.

The iconic images of 1950s and 1960s Black protesters marching, kneeling and being arrested while dressed in their “Sunday best” illustrated the respectability politics of the day

These efforts, designed to cultivate white sympathy for civil rights activists, relied on conformity with patriarchal gender roles that elevated men to positions of visible leadership, confined women to the background and banished LGBTQ individuals to the closet.

Yet the movement could not have happened without the extraordinary leadership of Black women like veteran organizer Ella Baker. Baker’s model of grassroots activism and empowerment for young and marginalized people became the driving force of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, known as SNCC, and other nonviolent protest organizations, past and present.

Flyer announcing a Youth Leadership Meeting, that was to be held at Shaw University, Raleigh, North Carolina, on April 15-17, 1960, and bearing the names of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ella J. Baker, the president and executive director, respectively, of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, April 1960. New York Public Library/From the New York Public Library/Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).

The decentralized structure of the current movement builds on this history of grassroots activism while working to avoid replicating the entrenched sexism and homophobia of an earlier era.

Amplifying voices

SNCC transformed lives by recognizing talent and empowering marginalized people. As Joe Martin, one of the organizers of a student walkout in McComb, Mississippi, recalled, “If you had a good idea it was accepted regardless of what your social status was.”

Ella Baker, NAACP Hatfield representative, Sept. 18, 1941. Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images

Endesha Ida Mae Holland, a teenage prostitute, found purpose as a SNCC field secretary, organizing and leading marches in Greenwood, Mississippi. Facing down Police Chief Curtis Lary “made me feel so proud,” she recalled, and “people start looking up into my face, into my eyes” with respect. Holland went on to become an award-winning playwright and distinguished university professor.

Black Lives Matter co-founders Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors also encourage strategies that place marginalized voices at the center.

Elevating “Black trans people, Black queer people, Black immigrants, Black incarcerated people and formerly incarcerated people, Black millennials, Black women, low income Black people, and Black people with disabilities” to leadership roles, they wrote, “allows for leadership to emerge from our intersecting identities, rather than to be organized around one notion of Blackness.”

Black women and teens have played a critical role in organizing, leading and maintaining the momentum of recent protests.

Kimberly Jones captured the nation’s attention with an impassioned takedown of institutional racism and debates over appropriate forms of protest. After repeatedly breaking the social contract to keep wealth and opportunity out of reach for black communities, Jones concludes, white Americans “are lucky that what black people are looking for is equality and not revenge.”

Women have organized family-friendly demonstrations, including the “Black Mamas March” in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a “Black Kids Matter” protest in Hartford, Connecticut.

Six young women, aged 14 to 16, organized a peaceful protest attracting more than 10,000 people in Nashville, Tennessee, while 17-year-old Tiana Day led a march on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Full of leaders

Seventeen-year-old Tiana Day leads a march on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, June 6, 2020, to protest the death of George Floyd. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The adaptive “low ego/high impact” leadership model, in which leaders serve as coaches helping groups build their own solutions, has become popular among current social justice organizations, but it is not new.

Baker encouraged civil rights organizations to “develop individuals” and provide “an opportunity for them to grow.” She praised SNCC for “working with indigenous people, not working for them.”

“You don’t have to worry about where your leaders are,” former SNCC organizer Robert Moses reflected. “If you go out and work with your people, then the leadership will emerge.”

Campaigns are exhausting and external recognition as a “leader” can take a heavy toll. Spreading leadership around helps to protect any one person from becoming a target for retaliation while advancing a stream of talent to rise as individual energy wanes.

Returning from a citizenship training program in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1963, Fannie Lou Hamer was arrested and severely beaten, leaving her with permanent injuries. Holland’s mother died when their house in Greenwood, Mississippi, was bombed in 1965 in retaliation for her activism.

Civil rights worker Anne Moody recounted how the physical and psychological toll of constant harassment by white supremacists in 1963 forced her to leave a voter registration drive in Canton, Mississippi, saying “I was on the verge of a breakdown” and “would have died from lack of sleep and nervousness” had she stayed “another week.”

In a 2017 interview, Erica Garner, who became a tireless campaigner against police brutality after her father, Eric Garner, died from a New York police officer’s chokehold in 2014, echoed Moody’s comments.

“I’m struggling right now with the stress and everything. … The system beats you down to where you can’t win,” she said. Just three weeks after that interview, Erica Garner died of a heart attack at the age of 27.

Comparisons to the romanticized cultural memory of charismatic leadership in the Civil Rights Movement devalues the hard work of today’s activists – as well as those who worked hard outside of the limelight in the earlier movement. Social change – then and now – derives from a critical mass of local work throughout the nation. Those who cannot find leaders in this movement are not looking hard enough.

What Colleges and Universities can do to Improve Police-Community Relations

What Colleges and Universities can do to Improve Police-Community Relations

Video Courtesy of GMA:


In the wake of the death of George Floyd – and the protests that it has sparked around the world – public attention is focused on ending police brutality like never before.

Even before Floyd’s May 25 death in Minneapolis, public trust and confidence in law enforcement and America’s legal system were already in a perilous state. The difference now is that calls are being amplified to defund and disband police departments as they are currently known.

What can America’s higher education system do to reduce the use of excessive force among police? As a public policy scholar who examines the interplay between race, policing and public governance, I see multiple things that colleges and universities can do to make a difference.

1. Teach courses that rethink public safety

As a professor, I help students and communities rethink and redesign the policies and practices that shape relations between police and the community. The idea is to foster a shared sense of responsibility for public safety and order.

In one course, I have had students develop guides to get people to make better choices about when to even call the police in the first place.

To aid in this discussion, I use a refrigerator magnet that has a decision tree on when and when not to call the police. It was designed by police and residents in the community of the University of California at Irvine after an incident in 2015 in which a neighbor called police on a 20-year-old black man who was mistaken for a burglar at his own home. The guide continues to be in use and is distributed to new arrivals by members of the University Hills homeowners association and other residents concerned with public safety. With a purpose to lessen unnecessary calls to police, the guide encourages people to question themselves and ask if they are calling the police because of the way the person looks versus what the person is actually doing.

2. Use voices from history

To better understand police practices from various points in American history, universities should create or use digital archives that catalog recordings of people with actual lived experiences from those times. For instance, to hear what it was like to be arrested and subjected to police brutality as a black man or woman at the height of the civil rights era in the 1950s and 1960s or to have experienced the unrest after the Rodney King trial in the early 1990s, students should have easy access to recordings of people who were there.

At the University of Virginia, students and faculty have access to the HistoryMakers Digital Archive, the largest African American video oral history archive in the U.S. The archive offers high-quality videos and audio. It also provides full transcripts for each interview.

3. Make use-of-force policies transparent

Campus police departments – and surrounding police agencies – should collaborate and make transparent their policies and procedures. This is particularly important when it comes to the use of force.

Colleges and universities can host and facilitate community dialogues to help the public better understand when police use of force is permitted under the law and when that force is excessive.

4. Research effective practices

Since research is a key focus of higher education, universities should investigate which practices are most effective – from stop and frisk to community policing – at reducing the use of excessive force, and which practices make it worse.

Universities can also shed light on how people with different backgrounds experience and view the use of force. For instance, one study found that blacks and Hispanics are more than 50% more likely to experience some form of use of force in their interactions with the police when compared to whites. On the other hand, whites and men are more likely to view the use of force as justified than nonwhites and women.

5. Producing diversity within public administration

I argue that in order to better serve the community, bureaucracies, such as police departments, need to reflect the diversity of the communities in which they operate. This is in line with something known as the theory of “representative bureaucracy.” This theory states the more the workforce of a government agency, like a police department, is representative of the people it serves in terms of its demographic diversity, the more likely it becomes that it will ensure that the interests of all groups are considered when decisions are made.

Research on the impact of representative bureaucracy in policing is mixed, however.

Some studies have shown that it improves the delivery of police services and on public perceptions, while others have found that it does nothing to change police culture. This is because, research has found, black and brown officers often feel pressured to not act on the experiences they and their communities have had, but to “represent blue” and align with the cultural values of the police departments in which they work.

Colleges and universities should partner with law enforcement to come up with better ways to understand and address the challenges, such as racial profiling and excessive use of force, that continue to harm relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.