Monday, November 24, 2014

Why Did Cops Shoot 12-Year-Old Black Boy Brandishing Fake Gun?

From AlterNet:

But research proves that police officers or white people in general have a tendency to be more trigger-happy when confronted with a black suspect. A  2002 study revealed how undergraduate students reacted to video simulations in which they were asked to shoot if they thought a black or white person was armed. The white students had higher rates of error when it came to unarmed black suspects.  

For those who say this study doesn't apply because the Cleveland boy had a gun, a 2005 study by Florida State University researchers revealed that white cops were more likely to shoot an unarmed black suspect than a white armed suspect. 

More here.

So, okay, some real and serious research strongly suggests that whites are far more likely to shoot at a black person who is perceived to be armed than at a white person in a similar context.  And that's interesting, to be sure, definitely worth some more reading and consideration.  Of course, a couple of studies don't necessarily establish anything as fact, but they do open up some very real possibilities--lots and lots of studies, of course, still don't establish fact, but each time you get repeated results, you get a lot closer to fact.  So I'm not ready to say that whites are more trigger-happy when it comes to shooting black people, but I'm definitely willing to consider the possibility; I mean, there don't seem to be any studies out there suggesting the opposite or anything.

But here's something REALLY interesting to me: how many people out there just immediately dismiss such studies as being absolutely impossible, that such research results are complete bullshit, just because they "know" these studies have to be wrong?  I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that such people might have some racist tendencies within them, emotional stuff that doesn't quite manifest as "I don't like black people," but rather manifests in knee-jerk reactions that don't really make much sense.  No, I'm not calling these people "racists."  After all, who can look into people's souls and measure their worth?  And it's also been brought to my attention lately that calling people racist may very well be counterproductive when it comes to discussing race.

I am saying, however, that studies of this sort are real information.  Skepticism is a good thing, to be sure, but irrational skepticism, the kind that immediately dismisses such real information is NOT good, and may very well indicate what's going on at a subconscious level.

Also, global warming.  Evolution, too.