The article “Minority Threat Hypothesis and NYPD Stop and Frisk Policy” by Joseph Ferrandino focuses on New York’s stop and frisk policy and how it is used to target members of minority groups. Joseph Ferrandino uses data gathered from the 2012 Stop, Question, and Frisk database which clearly shows bias against members of minority groups by the NYPD. Ferrandino’s main argument is that that the NYPD uses its power to suppress and retain dominance against minority groups. I believe the conflict theory supports the arguments made in this article.
There is a clear bias against black individuals by police officers in New York. According to the 2012 Stop, Question, and Frisk database, Blacks were the most stopped, frisked, searched, and sanctioned groups of the year. Joseph Ferrandino also writes “Blacks comprise 4% of the population in dominant white neighborhoods yet comprise 35.7% of the stops, which is a ratio of 8.94, showing a clear disparity.” This information hints that blacks are being targeted by the NYPD so that the dominant groups can further retain their dominance.
This argument clearly suggests the conflict theorist’s idea of the large dominant group using societal institutions to help them retain power and control over the marginalized group. In this case members of white neighborhoods use the NYPD stop and frisk laws to suppress minority growth in their neighborhood.
On the other hand, order theorists would argue that the NYPD officers are stopping minorities at a higher rate than whites in dominant white neighborhoods due to them not following social norms.
In this case, minorities are not following social norms which call for the segregation of neighborhoods which they are breaking by staying in dominantly white neighborhoods. Something as simple as staying in a dominantly white neighborhood for too long would be considered not adhering to mainstream values.
Joseph Ferrandino suggests that the bias against minority groups by the NYPD stems from the white power structure in the NYPD. Joseph writes “Despite increased diversity and the passage of 15 years since the Spitzer (1999) report, 84.3% of stopped subjects in 2012 were Black or Hispanic with their population percentage increasing to 50%” suggesting that the NYPD’s bias against minority groups are a result of the dominant group using the NYPD as a means to further suppress and retain dominance over minority groups. Furthermore, he suggests that higher powers in the NYPD are suppressing minorities in their own institution to further carry out this agenda. This argument is supported by the conflict theory as it suggests that societal institutions are responsible for the way dominant groups retain power. In this case the NYPD is used to suppress minority groups.
On the other hand, order theorists would argue that the police officers in the NYPD value the duties of their role more than their own individual values. Police officers who are part of minority groups must adhere to the social norms introduced by the individuals in higher positions to keep up with the norms. Order theorists would also argue that members of minority groups choose not to adhere to social norms and that is why they are stopped and frisked more often than members of groups that adhere to social norms.
Joseph Ferrandino also suggests marijuana possession is used to suppress minority groups by stating “The most pronounced finding was for marijuana possession arrests in which Whites were 50% more likely to receive adjournments in contemplation of dismissal than Black or Hispanic defendants.” This supports the conflict theorist’s idea that societal institutions are used as a means to suppress and retain dominance over marginalized groups. The NYPD use marijuana as a pretext to imprison members of minority groups even though members of the majority group are also stopped and frisked while in possession of the substance.
Order theorists would argue that this is a result of members of minority groups not accepting social norms. Members of minority groups are already stopped in stop and frisk operations due to them not following social norms and marijuana possession is further opposition to social norms. In this case individuals who would argue for the order theory would claim that the higher prosecution rate of minorities is a result of their reluctance to accept the social norms by society. In the case of minorities, they are already not accepting the social norms of imposed by society and further not accepting social norms by possessing marijuana.
In conclusion order theorists would argue that this blatant bias against members of minority groups by the NYPD is due to members of minority groups not accepting the social norms followed in society. The conflict theorist’s ideal is more fitting because the NYPD is a societal institution which is using its authority and power to further enforce the dominance of the majority group in New York. The NYPD is actively targeting members of minority groups who are trying to access resources and land in areas where the majority group hold power. To prevent the minorities groups efforts to gain these resources the NYPD uses stop and frisk laws to suppress and retain dominance in those areas. The white majority use the NYPD as a means to further suppress and retain dominance over the marginalized groups.