The Social Psychology of Why Cops Keep Shooting Black People
- People are more likely to incorrectly identify a benign object as a weapon if a black person is holding it.
- This effect is amplified in situations of stress, threat, or when split-second decisions are necessary.
- People (especially white people) are more likely to associate black faces implicitly and automatically with words like “danger” and “criminal” than they are people of other races.
- The automatic association of black people with danger and criminality unfortunately can be internalized by people of all races, and people who try consciously to be anti-racist.
- The more stereotypically “black” a person looks (e.g. darker skin), the more likely a person is to decide to shoot them in a situation of ambiguous conflict.
- Experimental research suggests that police officers really do see black people as less human.
- Experimental research also shows that when a black child misbehaves, he/she is seen as older, more violent, and is more likely to be punished or suspended, compared to a white child of the same age and size.
- Several police departments across the country have an official policy of turning away applicants with high IQs, for the express purpose of creating a culture of obedience to authority.
- Police departments are, by and large, environments that breed deindividuation and obedience; police officers are systematically taught that they are powerful and above the law, and that other people are unruly, unsafe, and deserving of punishment.
What can we do:
- Support the legal defense fund for individuals arrested in Ferguson
- Contact state & federal representatives
- Push for reform in police hiring and training practices
- Push for mandatory implicit bias training for all police officers
- Push for harsher legal punishment for police officers and departments that use extraordinary force or commit unjustified shootings
- Counteract your own implicit racial bias by surrounding yourself with images of black excellence.
- Pay attention to your automatic/implicit responses to people of different races, ethnicities ,and cultures
- Work tirelessly to examine and combat your problematic views on race. You have some reprehensible associations lingering inside of you, I guarantee it.
Originally published at erikadprice.tumblr.com.