CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fan on Subconscious Racial Impact on Police

Fan mary Mary Fan (University of Washington) has published a review of a forthcoming article by L. Song Richardson, Arrest Efficiency and the Fourth Amendment, 95 Minn. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2011)(available at SSRN) at Jotwell. In part:

Applying insights from the research on implicit social cognition to policing is salutary. For the officers who hunker down when faced with what feels like another accusation, I hope we can translate implicit bias research in a way that fosters receptivity toward understanding and ameliorating subconscious impact. Perhaps it may help to avoid the term bias, which could shut down the will to listen because it may sound like another personalized accusation. The power of implicit social cognition research is to depersonalize blame, showing how subconscious impact may be a cultural problem, and how people who genuinely believe themselves to be acting nobly may exert subconscious impact. As lawyers, particularly criminal lawyers, we are all too good at pointing fingers. But to progress, perhaps the better approach is to emerge from the posture of fierce polarization and defensiveness and find ways to more accurately see and understand each other.

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