576 Police in America

Nitiya asks about the police and race in America.

Nitiya: OK. Can you actually talk a little bit about police in America? How much does the civilians trust them or what beliefs you have about them?

Todd: Ooh, that I guess would depend on where you live. I grew up in a pretty small town. I'm white, Caucasian, and I think that most Causasian people trust the police pretty much 100%. They think that they're there to serve and protect, but unfortunately minority groups, blacks or African Americans and Hispanic people, Asian people sometimes don't trust the police.

Nitiya: OK, why do you think they don't trust the police sometimes?

Todd: Well, one is because the police probably don't treat them fairly. Often they live, some minority groups, live in poor areas, and in the poor areas there might be higher crime and the police probably have more stress, and they have they're more ... defensive, and as a result maybe they behave poorly, or they don't treat certain minority groups equally. They're more suspicious, and as a result, sometimes bad things happen.

Nitiya: So basically, most of the people do trust, it's like that.

Todd: I think, I think most people trust the police. I think, understandably, especially African Americans, don't trust the police because they think the police is always nervous and edgy around them, and that the police might use violence against them, or suspect that they are criminals, when they are just a good ordinary citizen, and so they probably don't trust the police as much.

Nitiya: OK, then and there is one more thing I want to ask you, about this police thing, so African Americans don't become police?

Todd: Oh, no, it's quite often that African Americans do become police.

Nitiya: OK, so you do have black people, who are police?

Todd: Oh, of course and you have, we have minority group. Usually where you have distrust with the police is the major larger cities, and it's a race thing, that has to do with race, but it also is an income thing, where usually the lower income people often feel like they're not treated, you know, fairly I guess. I mean what is it like in India? Do you have complete trust of the police?

Nitiya: I guess no, but it depends exactly on the city, as you said. The smaller cities, I think the conditions are very bad. I don't think, and it's not that fast, like in America, you dial a number and there are police there in two minutes, but that's not the way in India. Crime finishes and then they appear. Yeah. It's like that.

Todd: OK, well, nice talking to you about that.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

minority groups

Minority groups, blacks or African Americans and Hispanic people, Asian people sometimes don't trust the police.

'Minority groups' are groups of people who are in the racial, religious or ethnic minority where they live.  Notice the following:

  1. There are many stereotypes that exist about minority groups.
  2. He joined a club for minority groups to find friends with the same religious background.

they're more suspicious

They're more suspicious and as a result sometimes bad things happen.

'To be more suspicious' is to really think that something bad is going to happen and look at people like they are going to attack you.  Notice the following:

  1. After the robbery, they are more suspicious of strange people in the neighborhood.
  2. You need to be more suspicious, because not everyone in the world is honest.

nervous and edgy

The police are always nervous and edgy around them.

To be 'nervous and edgy' is to be worried and jumpy around certain people, feeling like something bad is going to happen.  Notice the following:

  1. You make me nervous and edgy around you.  Don't look at me like that.
  2. I was nervous and edgy when I was lying to my parents.

a good ordinary citizen

The police might use violence against them, or suspect that they are criminals, when they are just a good ordinary citizen.

'A good ordinary citizen' is a normal person who follows the laws and doesn't make trouble.  Notice the following:

  1. She was always a good ordinary citizen and was never involved in any gangs.
  2. After he was released from prison,. he tried to be a good ordinary citizen.

as you said

It depends on the city, as you said.

You can use the phrase 'as you said' to repeat what someone said earlier in the conversation.  Notice the following:

  1. Nobody wants to feel like a criminal when they are innocent, as she said.
  2. As he said before, racial profiling causes problems.


Answer these questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Here are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
minority • suspicious • nervous
ordinary • as you said
  1. She always gets and edgy before a first date.
  2. It might seem crazy that she returned your wallet without stealing from it, but that is what good citizens do here.
  3. There are, , many different ways to do this.
  4. Most of the people who live in this area are members of groups.
  5. After he got caught for smoking, his parents were more about everything that he did.