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Book Review Of Black In Blue By Nicholas Alex

1025 words - 4 pages

Book ReviewBlack In BlueA Study of the Negro Policemanby Nicholas AlexAppleton-Century-CroftsCopyright 1969210 pagesIntro. Criminal JusticeDecember 2, 1996Nicholas Alex, assistant professor of sociology at The City University of New York, holds a Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research and a B.S. from the Wharton School. He was formerly a research assistant with the Russell Sage Foundation, an instructor at Adelphi University, and has had working experience in his academic specialty-the sociology of professions and occupations-while an industrial engineer in the aircraft industry, later as business manager of the Walden School. This is his first book.In this book Alex made an effort to examine the peculiar problems of Negro policemen who live in an age which has not yet resolved to problem of inequality in an assertedly democratic society. He drawn heavily on the reflections of forty-one Negro policemen who made plain to me the difficulties involved in being black in blue. Alex was concerned with the ways in which the men were recruited into the police, the nature of their relations in regard to their immediate clientele, their counterparts, and the rest of society. In the broadest terms, the book examines the special problems that Negro policemen face in their efforts to reconcile their race with their work in the present framework of American values and beliefs.The research for the study was based on intensive interviews collected over a period of eleven months, from December 1964 to October 1965. During that time the author talked with Negro police engaged in different types of police specialties, and men of different rank and backgrounds. Alex was interested in preserving their anonymity, and substituted code numbers for names. The language in which their thoughts were expressed is unchanged.Most of the interviews were obtained either at the policeman's home or the authors. Some were held in parks, playgrounds, and luncheonettes. All of the interviews were open-ended. All the policemen refused to have there conversations taped. 'I know too well what tapes can do to you,' said one. 'I can refute what you write down on that pad, but I can't if it's taped. We use tapes too, you know.' The author was dealing with a highly expressive and literate group of men who thought of the study as a way in which they could make themselves heard.This book is organized very well. It consist of eight chapters, and each chapter is broken into subdivisions. The first chapter talks about the policemen in the community. Within this chapter mainly describes the police as and occupation, and states how the policemen's job is uncertain. The second chapter deals with the recruitment of Negroes for police work. It talks about the need for Negro policemen, and the reasons for entering the police work. The author states in this chapter that most Negro policemen applied for police work only as one possibility among other similar civil service jobs. The next chapter...

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