In the past weeks alone, Black men, who were perfectly innocent, had the police called on them for simply sitting in a Starbucks; a Black Yale University student had police called on her because she fell asleep in a common area of her own dormitory; and three African Americans had the police called on them because a neighbor thought they were intruders, when in reality, they had legally rented the house via the service AirBnB.
In those situations, the African Americans were not physically harmed. But in other situations, like Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, and Philando Castile in Minnesota, these African Americans, in their interactions with police, are dead.
Black Women for Positive Change and Aunt Cheryl’s Catering hosted a community workshop with residents and local police agencies, entitled: “Don’t Stereotype—The Dangers of Implicit Bias,” at the Woodland Hills Administration Building in Braddock, April 28.
The event gave local residents a chance to interact with police from the City of Pittsburgh, Braddock, Rankin and Duquesne, and, just as important, a chance for police to hear real concerns voiced by community members.
Pittsburgh police showed a presentation on some of the same things officers in training watch, including a slide from, among others, the Center for Policing Equity at the University of California-Los Angeles. That slide discussed situations that create “fast traps,” or situations that can lead to an over-reliance on implicit biases. Those situations included being mentally taxed, being in a bad mood, feeling threatened, being a novice, making quick decisions and multi-tasking. It’s what Pittsburgh’s department is trying to eliminate, thus making implicit bias a thing of the past when faced with encounters with all, especially African Americans.
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