Essay on Cop in the Hood

2666 Words Dec 5th, 2011 11 Pages
Setareh Salehi

Cop in the Hood

Peter Moskos‘, Cop in The Hood, is the story of a sociologist going native by going through the Baltimore police academy, becoming a cop and working for over a year. The book follows Moskos chronological journey, from the academy to the street and the last part of the book is dedicated to a pretty thorough analysis of the War on Drugs.
The first interesting observation from Moskos’s work is his analysis of the police academy as relatively useless for the job:
“So what’s the point of the academy? Primarily, it’s to protect the department from the legal liability that could result from negligent training. To the trainees this appears more important than educating police officers.” And second, despite
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Old people, working people, line ’em up, two by two. White cops will be standing on the walls with big poles pushing people back in.” The painful universal truth of this officer’s beliefs came back to me in stark relief during the flooding and destruction of New Orleans, Louisiana. Police in some neighboring communities prevented displaced black residents from leaving the disaster area, turning them away with blockades and guns.”
That in-group / out-group outlook also involves dehumanization and stigmatization:
“In the ghetto, police and the public have a general mutual desire to avoid interaction. The sociologist Ervin Goffman wrote, “One avoids a person of high status out of deference to him and avoids a person of lower status . . . out of a self-protective concern.” Goffman was concerned with the stigma of race, but in the ghetto, stigma revolves around the “pollution” associated with drugs. Police use words like “filthy,” “rank,” “smelly,” or “nasty” to describe literal filth, which abounds in the Eastern District. The word “dirty” is used to describe the figurative filth of a drug addict. It is, in the drug-related sense, the opposite of being clean.”
The “dope fiend” becomes the loathed representative figure of all this. But the dehumanization applies

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