Black Americans’ perceptions of policing in their communities remain significantly less positive than White Americans’. However, not all Black Americans view local policing in the same way. Black women report substantially less positive attitudes than Black men across four key measures of attitudes toward policing.
- Black women are less likely than Black men to have confidence in their local police force, 52% versus 60%.
- Black men’s satisfaction with the relationship between local police and their community, at 65%, is 10 percentage points higher than satisfaction among Black women.
- Black women are less likely than Black men to feel that police treat people like them fairly (57% vs. 67%, respectively).
- Also, Black women are less likely than Black men to believe that police would treat them with courtesy and respect in an interaction (68% vs. 74%).
Gender gaps of this magnitude in attitudes toward policing are unique to Black adults; White and Hispanic men and women are more closely aligned in their views. For example, perceptions of fair treatment differ by only one point for White men and women (91% vs. 90%, respectively) and by just three points for Hispanic men and women (71% vs. 74%, respectively). Among Black adults, the gap is 10 points.
Not all Black adults have the same experiences or needs when it comes to safety and justice in their communities. Among all women, Black women are disproportionately likely to be killed by police, but their deaths tend to receive less media attention than those of other victims.
The Gallup Center on Black Voices finds that these experiences are mirrored by gender gaps in attitudes toward policing. Black women are less confident in their local police, less satisfied with the relationship between police and their local community, and less optimistic about how police treat them. They are also the least likely to feel safe walking alone at night in their community: Only 43% of Black women have this sense of security, compared with 71% of Black men.
As conversations about police reform and racial justice continue, uncovering where there are differences of experience and perception is an important first step to ensuring that approaches to find solutions include everyone.
For more on policing and the Black life experience, read Black Thriving in America 2023 (PDF download).
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