Monday, February 16, 2015

Another Example of How Implicit Bias Works

You can intellectually believe that all people, in the abstract, are equal and still reach points in your interactions with actual people where you think of them as less than human. (It's not uncommon for men to do this in their interactions with women, for instance.)

Having a bias against difference -- a bias we all have as humans, and actively need to work to counteract -- will come out in times of stress. It's part of what makes cops shoot black men and boys when they have no reasonable need to. "He looked older than he was." "He was going for a gun."

Craig Hicks, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, shot three people who were clearly identifiable as Muslims. It may have been in the context of a "parking dispute," since it sounds like he had problems with lots of other people in his complex and many were afraid of him. Carrying a gun on you while acting like a jerk can have that effect on people.

But the human beings he shot were the ones who looked different from him and who thought the most different from him. And that's not a coincidence.


Note: North Carolina is a "stand your ground" state. My prediction is that Hicks will say Deah Barakat threatened him to the point where he (Hicks) feared for his life. How he'll explain shooting the two women is another story... maybe they "reached for their waistbands."

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