A Closer Look at Suave Mano Dura: The Legitimacy Policing and Latino Stop-and-Frisk
Write 5 paragraphs of at least 100 words each answering the following questions:
Who are Victor Rios and Greg Prieto?
What social problems have Rios and Prieto studied?
Describe the research methodology used for their research paper about “mano dura-mano suave.”
What is the problem with “stop-and-frisk?” Summarize the findings of their study “Mano Suave-Mano Dura”
Was their methodology scientific? Why?
You must list all the sources consulted when preparing your answer, in APA or ASA format.
You are required to use the following sources:
https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/story/2020-07-28/commentary-defund-police-systemic-racism (https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/story/2020-07-28/commentary-defund-police-systemic-racism)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UQfbAZfG_8 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UQfbAZfG_8)
https://thesocietypages.org/discoveries/2021/04/21/punitive-policing-persists/ (https://thesocietypages.org/discoveries/2021/04/21/punitive-policing-persists/)
https://www.thoughtco.com/ethnography-definition-3026313 (https://www.thoughtco.com/ethnography-definition-3026313)

Sample Answer

Sample Answer


A Closer Look at Suave Mano Dura: The Legitimacy Policing and Latino Stop-and-Frisk

Victor Rios and Greg Prieto are researchers and scholars who have extensively studied social problems related to policing, specifically focusing on the experiences of Latino communities.

Rios is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a former gang member himself. He has conducted research on the school-to-prison pipeline, youth gang involvement, and the impact of punitive policies on marginalized communities. Prieto is also a sociologist and has collaborated with Rios on various research projects exploring issues of race, crime, and policing.

One of the social problems that Rios and Prieto have studied is the phenomenon of “mano dura-mano suave,” which translates to “firm hand-soft hand” in English. This concept refers to the different approaches taken by law enforcement in interacting with Latino communities. “Mano dura” represents the tough or aggressive policing tactics, while “mano suave” represents more community-oriented and compassionate approaches.

The research methodology used by Rios and Prieto for their study on “mano dura-mano suave” involved ethnographic research. They immersed themselves in the communities they were studying, spending extensive time observing and interacting with residents, law enforcement officials, and other stakeholders. This approach allowed them to gain a deep understanding of the experiences and perspectives of those involved in these communities.

The problem with “stop-and-frisk” is that it disproportionately targets minority communities, particularly African American and Latino individuals. This policing tactic allows law enforcement officers to detain, question, and search individuals based on suspicion alone, leading to racial profiling and violations of civil rights. Rios and Prieto’s study “Mano Suave-Mano Dura” found that Latino individuals were more likely to be subjected to stop-and-frisk encounters, contributing to feelings of mistrust and alienation towards law enforcement.

The findings of their study revealed that the “mano dura” approach often led to negative outcomes, such as increased animosity between the police and the community, while the “mano suave” approach fostered better relationships between law enforcement and residents. It was evident that building trust and legitimacy through community engagement and respectful interactions had more positive outcomes in terms of crime prevention and community well-being.

Their methodology can be considered scientific because it followed the principles of ethnographic research. They conducted systematic observations, collected data through interviews and field notes, and analyzed their findings to draw conclusions. While ethnographic research may not adhere strictly to traditional scientific methods like controlled experiments, it provides valuable insights into complex social phenomena.


Rios, V., & Prieto, G. (2011). Mano suave-manodura: The effects of police interaction on im/migrant and minority youth. Policing & Society, 21(4), 427-441.

Additional Sources Consulted:

Commentary: Defund police? Let’s dismantle systemic racism instead. (2020, July 28). San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved from source

The Society Pages. (2021). Punitive Policing Persists. Discoveries. Retrieved fromsource](httpsthesocietypages.org/discoveries/2021//21/punitive-policing-persists/)

Taylor, S. J., Bogdan, R., & DeVault, M. (2015). Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource (4th ed.). John Wiley & Sons.

ThoughtCo. (n.d.). What Is Ethnography? Learn Sociology. Retrieved from source



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