Reflections of African-American Women on their Careers in Urban Policing. Their Experiences of Racial and Sexual Discrimination

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This article examines the social organizational relationships and interactions that position African-American policewomen as outsiders within their own department. Their exclusion arises not only from dominant white males but from other subordinated groups such as white female and black male officers. The authors found persistent and pervasive patterns of sexual and racial discrimination. This qualitative research is based on data obtained from a population of all 21 black female police officers in a large urban city. The work experiences of black women in policing highlight several problematic areas. These women often experience gender discrimination related to professional abilities, job performance, and supervisory responsibilities. They experience racism in the form of derogatory remarks, and in the areas of hiring and promotion. Their marginality based on gender and race also is readily apparent in relationships among officers.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Graduate School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado at Denver, U.S.A.

Publication date: December 1, 2000

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