1st Edition

Racial Profiling They Stopped Me Because I'm ------------!

By Michael L. Birzer Copyright 2013
    ISBN 9781032477527
    242 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    Published January 21, 2023 by Routledge

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    ISBN 9781439872253
    241 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    Published November 14, 2012 by Routledge

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    Many racial minority communities claim profiling occurs frequently in their neighborhoods. Police authorities, for the most part, deny that they engage in racially biased police tactics. A handful of books have been published on the topic, but they tend to offer only anecdotal reports offering little reliable insight. Few use a qualitative methodological lens to provide the context of how minority citizens experience racial profiling.

    Racial Profiling: They Stopped Me Because I’m ———! places minority citizens who believe they have been racially profiled by police authorities at the center of the data. Using primary empirical studies and extensive, in-depth interviews, the book draws on nearly two years of field research into how minorities experience racial profiling by police authorities.

    The author interviewed more than 100 racial and ethnic minority citizens. Citing 87 of these cases, the book examines each individual case and employs a rigorous qualitative phenomenological method to develop dominant themes and determine their associated meaning. Through an exploration of these themes, we can learn:

    • What racial profiling is, its historical context, and how formal legal codes and public policy generally define it

    • The best methods of data collection and the advantages of collecting racial profiling data

    • How certain challenges can prevent data collection from properly identifying racial profiling or bias-based policing practices

    • Data analysis and methods of determining the validity of the data

    • The impact of pretextual stops and the effect of Whren v. United States

    A compelling account of how minority citizens experience racial profiling and how they ascribe and give meaning to these experiences, the book provides a candid discussion of what the findings of the research mean for the police, racial minority citizens, and future racial profiling research.

    Michael L. Birzer was recently interviewed on public radio about his book, Racial Profiling: They Stopped Me Because I’m ———!

    Stylin’ n’ Profilin’. Purpose of the Book. The Cambridge Incident. Scope of the Problem. Defining Racial Profiling. Experience Is Powerful. Putting Racial Profiling into Context. . A History of Disparate Treatment. The War on Drugs. What about Congress, Data Collection, and the Court? Congressional Mandates. Police Stop Data. Data Collection Methods. Did the Supreme Court Sanction Racial Profiling? Would Have, Could Have, Should Have. Phenomenology as Method in Racial Profiling Research. Framing the Study. Alternative Epistemology. The Paradigm Divide. Qualitative Research. Phenomenology. Selecting Participants. Treatment of Data. Experiencing Racial Profiling. Constructing the Stop. Coercion and Appearance. Unifying Experience. Berry’s Story. Trusting the Data. Validity. Reliability. Trustworthiness. Interview Memo. Striking Revelations. Global Conclusions. Striking Revelations. Where Do We Go From Here? Implications for Police Practice. Implications for Citizens. Implications for Research. The White Male Researcher. Index.


    Michael L. Birzer is the Director of the School of Community Affairs and a professor of criminal justice at Wichita State University. He was recently named a Leadership Fellow at his university. Professor Birzer’s research interests include the intersection of race and the criminal justice system, police behavior and policy, and criminal justice training and education strategies. He is the author or co-author of eight books in such areas as policing, private security, and criminology. Prior to academia, he served more than 18 years with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department in Wichita where he worked in a wide variety of patrol, investigative, supervisory, and management positions.

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