University of Pittsburgh

David Harris on “Black on Black” Racial Profiling in New Orleans

Publish Date/Time: 
March 24, 2011

Professor David Harris discussed U.S. Department of Justice allegations of racial profiling by the New Orleans’ Police Department, which is itself majority black.  In an interview with Congressional Quarterly’s Justice blog, Professor Harris explained that racial profiling is not, first and foremost, a problem of racial bigotry.  Rather, it is a question of the police department’s culture, training, and customs.  All officers in the department, black and white, work within the same institutional influences.  If the department’s culture and approach encourage profiling of blacks, all officers will engage in it as the standard behavior.  “Black officers are going to be trained like all the others,” Professor Harris explained. “They’re going to want to fit in just like all the others.”


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