Another factor that may greatly contribute to the confusion in communication is culture. Different races have different ways of dealing with various events. What may be an acceptable practice with one race may not be a popular choice with another. Imposition of a practice to one person of a different cultural background usually causes friction. The second underlying common factor in these situations is that most of the cases concern the poor or marginalized in society. The people implicated are usually uneducated or at most undereducated. There are obvious difficulties in these dealings.
It is important that the right language is chosen when relating to them. Complex thoughts may not be adhered to very well. What may seem uncomplicated to an educated person may prove threatening to one who has no educational foundation. Simple concepts are not necessarily simple to every one. Time and patience are required to send messages across. The third is the instigating factor of the events. Most of the cases are built on presumptions of police officers. Many of the cases are between police officers and alleged suspects or presumed criminals.
These officers respond to the thought process they have formed prior to the confrontation. They have already adapted an objective. And they are prepared to do whatever to achieve this objective. Sometimes this intense focus clouds rational appreciation of the actual events. The factors that are inherent in the occurrence of police brutality may all be addressed by the mastery of the Constructivism Approach to communication. Clearly the differences in culture, background and internal precepts are areas identified by the approach.
At the same time the approach is likewise ideal in tense situations similar with confrontations between police officers and the people they try to apprehend. The Constructivism approach determines control by the communicator. Interaction between police officers and the public is usually controlled by the former. It can easily be deduced that police officers have the advantage in stirring communication in these situations. Events proceeding initial contact strongly depend on the ability of police officers to take control.
This is also a very important parallelism to Constructivism in which it is crucial for the communicator to lead the flow of interaction. The Diallo case is a perfect example of breakdown in communication between police officers and the public. There were many variables in the situation that might have been better tackled if only the Constructivism approach was applied. The first important variable is race. Mr. Diallo was West African. Law enforcers have been accused of racial profiling time and again. Somehow because of experience, police officers have developed an internal construct that increasingly discriminate against people of color.
This internal construct often plays a huge role in mistaken identities and false accusations. Constructivism puts high importance to diversity. Mastery of the approach would have equipped the police officers in assessing people and essentially overcoming the sweeping generalization about race and color. Another factor would have been in language. At the time of the incident, Mr. Diallo was a new immigrant. Although West Africans are known to speak English well, there are still distinct differences in the way the language is spoken.
Even word choices become extremely crucial in these kinds of situations. The actual exchange between the police officers and Mr. Diallo is unknown. The conversation was never really highlighted in the coverage of the story. However it is so apparent that there was a huge break in communication that is why there were 41 shots fired that day. The constructivist’s approach might have eased the tension somehow. The approach would have given the communicator, in this case the police officers, enough leverage to persuade the receiver, Mr. Diallo, in a calmer manner.