Racial Bias and Police Violence

Tamara Barnard, Natalie Bourdon, Women and Gender Studies, Mercer University, 1501 Mercer University Drive, Macon, GA 31207

During a time of rising racial tensions and racially motivated violence in our country and on Mercer University’s campus, I decided to conduct research and to host a discussion panel on racial bias and police violence. Race is such a sensitive topic and is not often openly discussed, yet it continues to play a major role in our society. It would be an anomaly to find an African American who has not personally experienced or does not at least know someone who has experienced police violence and racial bias. My goal through conducting my research was to raise awareness on the impacts of stereotyping and allow Mercer undergraduate students to gain a better understanding of how racial bias operates and ties into police violence. 

The research conducted made use of literature reviews, surveys, and interviews with Mercer undergraduate students. The 237 surveys collected served as a source of quantitative data that helped in gaining a clearer understanding of student perception on racial bias and police violence. My qualitative method of interviewing served allowed me to better understand student’s personal experiences with racial bias and police violence and filled in the gaps that the surveys may have left out. The surveys and interviews asked questions regarding background, experience, and opinions on racial tensions today. Students were then grouped into racial/ethnic and gender identities in order to compare difference in opinions, understandings, and perspectives on racial bias and police violence. Student responses were used to generate questions for panelists including, two faculty, two student representatives, and the chief of Mercer police. Discussions like these proved to be important as 300+ students, faculty, and administration attended. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Tamara Barnard

Institution: Mercer University

Type: Oral

Subject: Sociology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Oral 7
Date/Time: Fri 2:40pm-3:00pm
Location: Reid 202
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