1001 Black Men #795: Black Lives Are Human Lives

Mi Pueblo Grocery Store, High Street, Oakland, California.

Decades of research have demonstrated that a mere subliminal flash of a black man’s face can make us fear the worst — to evaluate ambiguous behavior as aggressive, to miscategorize harmless objects as weapons, to shoot quickly and to inappropriately dispatch a perceived threat.

In video game experiments requiring split-second judgments, subjects — no matter their race, age or attitudes — are quicker to fire at an armed black man than at a white man carrying a gun, and more likely to shoot unarmed blacks than unarmed whites.

That raises criminal justice issues that won’t be resolved by body cameras. It’s a problem centuries in the making, and belongs to all of us.

–Sandy Banks, “Police Expectations Damage Black Men’s Realities

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