Will Black Lives Matter to the Police?

Based on a 2017 national survey of 1,000 Black Americans, perceptions regarding the implications of Donald Trump’s election as President on race relations, police-minority relations, and police treatment of Black citizens in the United States were examined. Findings suggest the existence of a “Trump Effect”. With minor variation across demographic groups, the survey respondents expressed overall negative perceptions concerning the effects of President Trump’s election.

In particular, they expressed the belief that his presidency shows that the United States is a racist society, will strain police-minority relationships, and will create a climate in which African Americans are more likely to be arrested or subjected to police violence. At issue is not just African Americans’ distrust of President Trump but, importantly, whether his emphasis on “law and order” and dismissal of minority-group concerns attenuates the legitimacy of law enforcement in the eyes of African Americans.

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