Police forces have often in the past been guilty of denying justice to those in society who were members of stigmatized groups. However, as a client orientation and the idea of community empowerment become more and more important in police departments, American police forces are becoming more sensitive to the needs of their local communities, needs that quite often include sensitivity to the racial dynamics of those communities. This is, of course, all to the good and is the direction in which police work must continue to evolve until police work is color blind and until there is zero tolerance in all police departments for racial profiling.
It should, however, be noted at this point that if police have at times been insensitive to the issue of race (or even overtly hostile to those of other races), this must not be seen as a problem inherent in policing or one that arises from something about the structure of police departments. Rather, the racism that has marked police departments in the past (and the racism that continues to mark some of them) must be seen as an extension of attitudes prevalent in American society at large.
Racial tensions in the United States have worsened in the second half of the 20th century (and now the beginning of the 21st) in this country, although this is probably not because racial animosity has, in fact, become heightened. Rather, it is more likely the case that racial tensions have risen simply because there are more and more varied encounters among people of different races.
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