The Force of Fear

Summarize the Article

In “The Force of Fear”, authors Goff, Kerrison, and Trinkner acknowledge the initial empirical evidence that law-enforcers racism concerns are linked to their perceptions regarding their irrational use of force alongside the laws that govern it. The authors assess the support of coercive policing with police concerns of appearing racist. Further, they assert that the undermining of self-legitimacy resulting from stereotype threat triggers problems for the police and the institutions and communities they serve. Goff, Kerrison, and Trinkner obtained complete feedback from 507 respondents. In essence, the response rate ranged between 5.8% and 25.7% (Trinkner,  Kerrison & Goff, 2019). Respondents completed the section on psychological measures but withheld demographic details. With the utilization of model tests, post hoc analyses, and measurement models, the authors determined a correlation between officer cynicism and poor policing, insignificant differences between colored and white officers, and the relation between an officer’s experience and levels of self-legitimacy. Officers’ race was significant in general stereotyping as white persons were more susceptible to seeming racist. Nevertheless, there were was no significant difference between colored and white officers’ experiences regarding stereotype threats, but the correlation between self-legitimacy and stereotype threat appeared to vary depending on officers’ race. Conversely, stereotype threats have negative implications on both officers and community members and influence the erosion of public trust.

Article Critique

The authors discussed important concerns pertaining to the increasing incidences of officer violence. The article focused on a critical subject matter within the police sector that focused on the significance of police identifying measures they can incorporate to enhance public trust. This study identifies the rationale prompting the negative effects of officers appearing as racist by alleging that stereotype threat contributes to a decreased sense of moral authority among respondents causing them to engage in violent approaches and coercive methods. Significant findings were identified alongside notable limitations of the study. However, the study failed to provide a comprehensive representation of diverse officers’ perceptions. It is apparent that a particular fraction of respondents completed their surveys and even among those who did, several of them failed to include basic demographic information. Consequently, the findings cannot be generalized to other similar study populations. The authors were unable to perform a priori power analysis of officers’ experiences of stereotype threat, coercive policing, and self-legitimacy due to lack of previous research.  Further, issues of directionality could not be identified since the cross-sectional approach was utilized as opposed to the experimental methodology. My experiments would have applied the experimental study design to determine the long-term implications of each of the variables. In my study, I intend to evaluate the extent to which stereotype threat interferes with individuals’ application of social and interactive skills.

Article on Police Brutality

“Race and worrying about police brutality: the hidden injuries of minority status in America”, addresses the use of coercive methods by officers and the fear associated with this brutality among minorities, especially black individuals. Graham affirm that anxiety about officer violence inflicts emotional harm on various minorities and its prevalence remains concealed from societal view. The researchers conducted a national-survey using opt-in panel surveys in data collection (Graham, 2020). They assert that minority groups’ perceptions regarding officers create tension between the two parties and this significantly influences their children’s perceptions of the officers. The article further affirms that this kind of racial socialization cultivates a culture of distrust towards the officers. The authors also acknowledge the importance of ensuring public trust between communities and officers.




Graham, A., Haner, M., Sloan, M. M., Cullen, F. T., Kulig, T. C., & Jonson, C. L. (2020). Race and Worrying About Police Brutality: The Hidden Injuries of Minority Status in America. Victims & Offenders, 1-25

Trinkner, R., Kerrison, E. M., & Goff, P. A. (2019). The force of fear: Police stereotype threat, self-legitimacy, and support for excessive force. Law and human behavior.

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