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Are Cops Racist? Hardcover – November 11, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-1566634892 ISBN-10: 156663489X Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee; First Edition edition (November 11, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156663489X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566634892
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,041,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"The anti-profiling crusade thrives on an ignorance of policing and a willful blindness to the demographics of crime," writes Heather Mac Donald in this powerful and persuasive examination of racial profiling. Noting that crime has dropped in urban areas over the past decade, she writes that "The last ten years should have been a time of triumph for law enforcement, not an occasion for frenzied cop-bashing." Yet an anti-police stance has pervaded the media in recent years, particularly in The New York Times, she says. This bias, combined with suffocating federal regulations, brought about by both the Clinton and the Bush Justice Departments, threaten to reverse the progress made. It also causes unnecessary friction between police and the public, makes neighborhoods less safe, and even dissuades officers from fighting crime aggressively for fear of being labeled a racist. In instances where the police were clearly in the wrong--most notably the much-publicized and tragic Amadou Diallo shooting--Mac Donald posits that these are isolated cases of poor judgment and failure to follow procedure rather than evidence of systemic racism.

Since much of the profiling issue revolves around highway patrolling, Mac Donald looks closely at the misleading statistics that have been used to back up such practices as tabulating the race of drivers pulled over by the police. Mac Donald punches so many holes in the statistics that it's difficult not to concur with her. She further attacks the "collective fairy tale that all groups commit drug crimes at equal rates," arguing that the police are simply going to where the crime is, not willfully picking on one group while ignoring others. She also does extensive field work: interviewing cops around the country, particularly black officers who find the race-bias argument specious; reporting from urban neighborhoods; and witnessing firsthand how the New York Police Department trains its rookie officers. She also points out that local police are "the first line of defense against terrorism" and makes a particularly compelling argument that racial-profiling should be used as a tool in combating such threats. Overall, this forceful book is sure to arouse controversy--which is exactly the point. --Shawn Carkonen

From Library Journal

MacDonald (The Burden of Bad Ideas) is one of the few authors who attempts to justify current policing methods, arguing that the truth about policing and issues related to race is not known to the general public. She contends that the police should be receiving accolades for all the good work they do; instead, they are constantly attacked by the media (especially the New York Times), which offer unsubstantiated claims that racial profiling is running amok. MacDonald presents a great deal of evidence to debunk this media-driven myth: law-abiding inner-city citizens want a highly visible police presence, black officers pull over the same percentage of minority motorists as do their white counterparts, officers receive many hours of sensitivity and diversity training, and so on. In particular, she takes great exception to what she sees as the New York Times's biased approach to covering police matters, showing, for instance, that they do not report such incidents as police officers capturing gun-wielding felons without firing a shot, as the NYPD has done 155 times since 1995. This book is essential reading for anyone who assumes that racial profiling is an undisputed fact. Highly recommended for collections in criminal justice and the social sciences.
Tim Delaney, Canisius Coll., Buffalo, NY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I had no idea how bad the book could be.
B.BarNavi
Ms. McDonald is extremely bright and writes a good book that is interesting....if you care about the truth and being informed, this book is for you!
Patricia M. Mccommas
Mac Donald's book is full of anecdotal evidence and questionable leaps of logic that aren't satisfying.
Jerry Brito

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 65 people found the following review helpful By D. A. Martin on May 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading "Are Cops Racist" by Heather MacDonald. As an African-American and newly minted "Black Neo-conservative," I commend the author for not only showing, though painstaking reseach, interviews and thoughtful analysis, the fictitious and politcally motivated accusations against cops of racial profiling, but also stressing how such nonsense (further propogated by a left-leaning media) will do more harm than good to law-abiding citizens - particularly African-Americans. As the old saying goes, "the truth hurts." This book should leave cop-bashers nationwide with a serious hangover for a long time.
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47 of 61 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
We all decry racial-profiling, right? Only one problem: racial profiling does not exist.
The author documents how this myth began with black "leaders" complaining that too many blacks were being stopped for traffic violations. Liberal politicians quickly jumped on the bandwagon and demanded a study. With hysteria in full bloom, a federal study was produced showing that blacks were, indeed, stopped at a disproportionate rate for traffic violations along the New Jersey Turnpike. With the New Jersey Turnpike study in hand, President Clinton, then candidate G.W. Bush, and numerous governors were all out denouncing racial profiling and demanding reform. The hysteria then moved to the courts were numerous arrests were thrown out due to the claim that they were stopped because of their race.
Nobody ever asked the question: Are blacks being stopped at a disproportionate rate because they are committing traffic violations at a disproportionate rate. Even asking such a question usually resulted in charges of racism. To answer this question, however, the New Jersey Attorney General commissioned a study that employed radar to trigger a camera which snapped a picture of the driver whenever said driver exceeded the speed limit along points throughout New Jersey Turnpike. The report showed that blacks did, indeed, speed at a disproportionate rate, double that of whites. Needless to say, the politicians were shocked at the results. The DOJ continued to sidestep the study. The study was performed by the Public Service Institute for Safety in Maryland. The researchers even offered to submit the tests and methodologies to the National Academy of Sciences for peer review. In the end the media and politicians didn't contest the results, they instead chose to just ignore the study.
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27 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on February 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Heather MacDonald's Are Cops Racist? maintains that opposition to racial profiling threatens to erode crime-fighting gains of the last decade. Chapters show how this profiling has led to increased insights on the demographics of crime and criminals - and chapters consider how anti-profiling lobbying produces harmful results for blacks and all peoples. An intriguing discussion.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By matt's long commute on September 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Let me first state that I was a prior law enforcement officer on the state and Federal Level. With that in mind, Ms. MacDonald highlights some of the myths surrounding law enforcement and policing policies. I have experienced the political backlash from arresting prominent members of the community and the political workings behind the scenes to undermine and minimize the department's policing efforts. Law Enforcement is at times boring, thankless, an occasionly rewarding. I have witnessed firsthand the comments and bias placed on me when I was in uniform. I never pulled over a vehicle because of the ethnic profile of the driver. I was accused of it constantly, questioned by command (example: why have you pulled over # of hispanics this month? The command failed to mention that the jurisdiction was approximately 75% hispanic...a simple law of averages here....but I digress)
Ms. MacDonald highlights some of the recent police cases involving "profiling", especially the high profile case in New Jersey. She disects all of the politically correct charged placed against the police involved. This book is for someone with an open mind. Those that take the network news as gospel need not apply. In order to mend the very real racial divide in our culture, we have to honestly and objectfully look at how police are treated and characterized in the media. Like any large organization, there are bad officers. The majority of officers are hard working, non biased, and professional.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Titterington on May 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book looks at racial profiling from an officers perspective as well as from the non-criminal community eyes.
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16 of 26 people found the following review helpful By chazm on August 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've always been careful not to believe propaganda from the left or the right. I like to think of myself as a "self thinker" and have always held dear, the idea of personal responsibility. My education told me that speeders get stopped and law abiding citizens have nothing to fear from police officers and smart citizens have nothing to fear from criminals.

The culture at my job is one where you have two general types of person. Car guys, who built performance racers as teens and watch NASCAR, and engineer guys who built computers and programming code as teens. I'm from the latter group. However, I get stopped far more often than my white co-workers, even the ones who drive more reckless than me and are hotrodders.

As a matter of fact the last time I was stopped I was frisked handcuffed pushed around and shouted non racial but "heated" names, while my car was being ransacked by police officers with drawn guns. All of this was done before the first question or statement came out of the police officer's mouth. I wasn't speeding, blasting Rap music, wearing my hat backwards, slouching in my seat, drinking while driving, or driving with a White girl in my car (most of which isn't illegal anyway). I was wearing my seatbelt, sitting at a red light wearing a close cropped haircut with clean shaven face. I wore a conservative dark suit and was in a clean moderately upscale car with no extra rims or adornments. I work for one of the "Big Three" auto companies and was driving a car with Manuf. plates which, since I was less than a mile from the Tech center, was very common. They took my wallet out of my pocket and began tossing the contents on the hood of the car while looking for my license, insurance cert. and registration.
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