“KILLER” POLICE BIAS/PREJUDICES/STEREOTYPES (20)

“KILLER” POLICE BIAS/PREJUDICES/STEREOTYPES (20)

The C16 English word “Bias” (oblique line or curved path from which “Prejudice” derives) is simply a tendency, usually below ones awareness, to see facts in a certain way because of ones habits, wishes, desires, interests, values, or need to “save face.” “Prejudice” (a Middle English term for harm or injury resulting from action or judgment) has a strict sense of preconceived favorable or unfavorable opinion or emotion, without knowledge. Whereas Bias is developed in viewing the facts and then “Picking and Choosing” only those facts which support ones point of view, “Prejudice” occurs when one does not know, or has not examined, or does not care about the facts–and does not want to be confused by the facts. The process steps are positioned in the following order: Prejudices of Ignorance (all blindly adopted) are more easily removed than Will-full Biases/Prejudices (i.e. “Indifferent”—seeing what it pleases, not what is plain, and then passing that off as reason). Prejudices of Interest (i.e. willingly preferred) are almost fixed and the opinions rising out of them are sustained with the greatest violence. All of these advocates know little depth or scope of their “non-rational” and shackled points of view—thus making for weak emotional judgments. Bias/Prejudices are “second nature” virtues of the foolish and yet, instead of being separate acts, they are a series of continuous fantasy traits used for all like-kind subjects. In ‘‘slave patroller’’ policing, this started from the very beginning of African American slavery, followed thereafter by vigilante justice and abuses at the hands of racist Southern and later nation-wide Euro-American police. Continually perpetuating this was the fact of policemen winning White friends, mainly by passions of prejudices and/or by consistent narrowness of their outlook. Such stereotypical system-grinders hate Truth and Reality. All proper attempts to drive these Indifference/Hate/Evil/Sadism based bias and prejudices out by the door, only put that boomerang in motion for them to come back by the window. Stereotypes, false cognitive structures in ones mind, are made up of ones socialization, information, beliefs, opinions, and expectations concerning a Target Group. Since slavery, Black People have constantly experienced stereotypically unfair practices (e.g. racial profiling) from being deemed as ‘‘Dark Figures of Crime’—based on Whites projecting on them the large amounts of undetected or unreported crime done by Whites. In turn, police have opened themselves to be stereotyped–Blacks viewing them as “un-Manly,” ‘‘more corrupt, insecure, full of “faceless” hate, unfair, emotional, excitable, harsh, weaker, lazier, less intelligent, less friendly, more cruel, immoral or amoral, and “Nothings without the GUN.” The nature of police business brings them into routine contact with criminals, substance abusers, the mentally-ill, and persons in crisis. As a result, police officers, like other front-line responders and social service workers, must frequently interact with poor, minority, and socially disadvantaged groups disproportionately afflicted with the very social problems the police are expected to handle. Such takes its emotional toll–expressed as stress, divorce, alcoholism, and suicide. These make it easy to develop biases, prejudices, and stereotypes based on repeated exposure to negative social stimuli involving Target groups. That is especially true for officers who work in high-crime minority neighborhoods or who, by virtue of their job assignment, repeatedly come into contact with scapegoat groups involved in crime or violence. Bad attitudes, beliefs, and opinions are clung to when police have repetitive similar contacts from those of the same group—each causing them to routinely overestimate the occurrence of negative behaviors–each reinforcing pre-existing racial prejudices—each capable of leading to newly sprouting stereotypes on the original scapegoat as well as applied to each, regardless of their individual characteristics. Together, these stereotypes act as organizational scripts for social memory and thus guide perceptions of future encounters for both the police and those to whom they convey information. Such is the path to biased or incorrect assumptions leading to automatic Conditioned Responses. Regularly changing officers’ beat assignments based on crime characteristics and neighborhood demographic factors could help to reduce the development of those scripts. [Ref: Smith, Criminal Justice and Behavior, 2007; Gabbidon, Criminal Justice Review, 2011] jabaileymd.com Joseph A. Bailey II, MD, FACS