Saturday, July 9, 2016

Systemic Racism in Law Enforcement

This seems pretty obvious to me, but it seems like a lot of people don't get it.

The problem is not, primarily, that police have animosity towards blacks. The system incentivizes them to arrest and convict people. The police target the powerless because getting them through this process is easier - they put up less of a fight. But you usually can't just look at a person and determine if they have money, or political connections, or access to a defense lawyer.

Being black is just an easily observable proxy for powerlessness.

From the viewpoint of the police, they are just doing the job society has given them - maximizing the number of criminal convictions. From the viewpoint of blacks, they being targeted by the police for being black. They are both right.

This is why it’s called systemic racism. The bias is not in the minds of the people involved, but in how the system works.

(Photo by Guido van Nispen)