Huxley designs the fictional World Society as a setting for his novel, which is characterized by pervasive conditioning of all citizens to discourage individualistic expression. A snowballing effect then occurs as the validity of a belief increases along with the number of believers. The death of George Floyd in May, circulated in a bystander’s excruciating video clip, reignited furious and sometimes violent protests demanding reforms to address police brutality against ethnic minorities. As the conservative movement enters a period of post-Trump flux, American Compass CEO Oren Cass explains to Quillette‘s Jonathan Kay why a right-leaning coalition with organized labor now makes... Yale Sociologist and Physician Nicholas Christakis speaks to Quillette’s Jonathan Kay about the origins of COVID-19, how it compares to Bubonic Plague and Spanish Flu, and the way it... intense psychological simulation experiments, activist children are paraded across our screens, published the findings of its investigations, PODCAST 131: Professor Tania Reynolds on the Controversy Over Female Mentorship in Academia, PODCAST 130: Toby Young on the Free Speech Union, and His Campaign Against Cancel Culture, PODCAST 129: Oren Cass on the Conservative Case for Labor Unions, PODCAST 128: Nicholas Christakis on ‘Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound And Enduring Impact of Coronavirus On The Way We Live’, Copyright © 2019 Quillette Pty Ltd | All Rights Reserved. The implications of this availability heuristic and our media saturation of black deaths in police hands should be obvious. ... Their demands are legitimate, pertinent and cogent, and in total conformity with the desires and aspirations of the generality of Nigerians. 4.3 The Milgram Experiment To demonstrate the ease with which power can be used to coerce people, Stanley Milgram conducted a scientific experiment that demonstrated how far people will go when confronted with someone who has power and is in a position of authority. Police brutality occurs when police employ unjustified tactics, generally violent, and violate people's civil and human rights. A recent 50-page study examined the effects of investigations into police forces on crime. Catholics are far more likely than anyone else to buy into fantastic reports of a weeping statue of Mother Mary, and as Hans Rosling found, political activists are more likely to buy into radical claims that support their already systemically pessimistic beliefs. Yet, as Hudson points out, the ethical fifteen percent constitute thousands of officers who are willing to stand up for what is right. Policing the Police: The Impact of “Pattern-Or-Practise” Investigations On Crime. The 15:15:70 ratio is intriguing. A new incident involving police brutality takes place in Egypt once more. 1 Rosling, Hans, Rosling, Ola, Rosling, Anna, Factfulness, Flatiron Books (2018). Historical evidence indicates that blacks really were targeted in police killings in decades past and that media and public amplification of the issue is part of the reason that this is no longer the case. Causes Of Police Brutality And Violence 905 Words | 4 Pages. ( Log Out / Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Between the participants we have an emotional tempest of anger, desperation and fear. Additional investigations have found that black suspects are more likely to be manhandled, pushed to the ground, handcuffed, threatened, or pushed against a wall during a police interaction than their white counterparts. And, retreating disproportionately costs black lives.”. I suggest two things that seem counterintuitive at first glance. The list of political prisoners continues to grow and contains more than 100 names. The end result may be that everyone assumes that everyone else knows what they’re talking about: the blind leading the blind. The apparently inequitable use of force against ethnic minorities, meanwhile, has unleashed a torrent of emotion and allegations against police departments across the United States in the wake of Floyd’s death, spurred on by celebrities and activists alike. In his book Factfulness he reports, “Almost every activist I have ever met, whether deliberately or, more likely, unknowingly, exaggerates the problem to which they have dedicated themselves.”1 Those with the most unrealistically dire and pessimistic view of any issue are those most likely to be motivated to do something about it. You were under the impression this meant I was saying all minority leaders.This is obviously not true and not a very good reading of what was said. 2020, with its pandemic and its protests, was many things to many people: a hardship for those who lost homes, livelihoods and people they loved … Floyd uttered the words “I can’t breathe” in his last few minutes, words which have continued to define campaigns seeking to eradicate the well-established link between white supremacy and police brutality, which has cost the lives of Black Americans in particular. It found that most investigations are followed by a reduction in levels of crime, but with one important exception. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. In other words, the public and media have been amplifying one another in a self-reinforcing loop that economists Cass Sunstein and Tim Kuran call an availability cascade—media reporting influences the public, who communicate the idea among themselves and demand greater coverage from the media, which in turn influences us through the availability heuristic, producing further numbers of believers and greater demands for media coverage, and around the circle goes until everyone has wound themselves into a panic. (PDF) Systematic Brutality, Torture and Abuse of Human Rights by … Drug-dealers, rapists, murderers, you name it. As a law enforcement officer, you have a lot of power. “People tend to assess the relative importance of issues by ease with which they are retrieved from memory,” writes Kahneman in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. “Blacks are 23.5 percent less likely to be shot by police, relative to whites, in an interaction.”. The death of George Floyd in May, circulated in a bystander’s excruciating video clip, reignited furious and sometimes violent protests demanding reforms to address police brutality against ethnic minorities. The number of politically motivated criminal cases is reaching 900. “The results are startling,” writes Fryer. “On any given day, in any police department in the nation, 15 percent of officers will do the right thing no matter what is happening. Renowned for his work on racial discrimination, Mullainathan has argued in his own breakdown of the evidence that black deaths do not appear to be the result of a racial bias in policing: “What the data does suggest is that eliminating the biases of all police officers would do little to materially reduce the number of African American killings.” Mullainathan, however, does not appear to have been invited onto television to explain why Black Lives Matter activists have their facts wrong. According to Kahneman, “Scientists and others who try to dampen out the increasing fear and revulsion attract little attention, most of it is hostile: anyone who claims the danger is overstated is suspected of association in a heinous cover-up.”. The topic of police brutality has attracted a substantial amount of media attention over the past decade especially insight of recent events such as the shooting of unarmed black men like Mike Brown, Freddie Gray and Tamir Rice. At the same time, you’re constantly having to deal with the worst parts of our society. Matthew Blackwell is an Australian writer and graduate of the University of Queensland where he studied economics and anthropology. I gave an answer, including "minority leaders". Although there are no national level statistics on the extent of police deviance, it is likely that virtually every police department has witnessed some type of police corruption or scandal (Kappeler et al. Investigations into alleged police misconduct are obviously important, but not when conducted in response to the histrionic demands of uninformed activists. Black deaths are far more likely to incite newsworthy protests and condemnation. Leon Festinger describes this process in When Prophecy Fails, but the most eloquent description comes from Adolf Hitler’s architect and Minister of Armaments Albert Speer, who spent decades in prison after the war attempting to understand how he had allowed himself to become swept up by the delusions of the regime he supported: … in normal circumstances people who turn their backs on reality are soon set straight by the mockery and criticism of those around them, which makes them aware they have lost credibility. Yet another resorted to conspiracy theorizing, suggesting that any study conflicting with the sentiment of Black Lives Matter must be some kind of academic plot. Black Americans are seven times more likely to commit murder as white Americans, and the majority of murders and robberies in the United States are carried out by black Americans even though they are a minority. When you’re constantly having to deal with this sort of thing on a day-to-day basis, eventually it can be expected that it could have a psychological influence on you. Lichtenstein and her colleagues found that people believe that accidents are 300 times more likely to kill someone than diabetes when in fact diabetes kills four times as many people as accidents. On the other hand, a similar ontology exists on the part of communities that value codes of silence, the importance of “not being a snitch” and non-cooperation with the police. This pattern of abuse is then reinforced and entrenched by what some activists refer to as the “Blue Wall,” the so called unwritten code of loyalty between police officers that precludes the noble fifteen from confronting abuse. “I can’t, I’m getting angry, I don’t want to talk anymore,” said one activist in response to Horowitz’s attempt to discuss the evidence. For instance, Pulitzer Prize finalist Ruth Marcus writes in the Washington Post that black men are “two and a half times more likely than white men to be killed by police.” This figure reflects the fact that the black population makes up 14 percent of the American population but 34 percent of fatalities at the hands of law enforcement. But, for all their zealous advocacy, celebrities and protestors alike are reluctant to acknowledge or discuss the nuances of the empirical literature on the racial biases they are protesting. Similarly, discussions about “violence against women” rarely, if ever, meaningfully address violence perpetrated by law enforcement officers. Nationwide Protests Against Police Brutality and Systemic Racism. Informational cascades and reputational cascades feed into and reinforce one another—both increase the number of people publicly confessing to a belief and thereby exert more influence on others to conform. Celebrities and politicians may declare their allegiance to the cause owing to reputational concerns, but their voices, amplified by the media, increase the availability of the belief to others who may assume that their opinions must be properly informed and well supported if they are prepared to declare them in public. Hudson, a former St. Louis police officer explains a theory shared with him by a former colleague. There is, however, reason to believe that even if the percentages are off, the rule is reliable enough. Today, unjustified shooting, fatal chokings and beatings have contributed to the prominent problem of police brutality in America. He may flee from the officer, or physically resist any attempt by the police to put hands on him. The sudden conformity produced by an availability cascade can result in reflexive demands for urgent government action without any proper discussion or consideration of trade-offs, consequences, or even necessity. ( Log Out / Change ). Culturally, a whole entertainment industry is premised on the brutal cop who is willing to break the rules, to ignore civil and human rights, in order to keep the people safe from the unscrupulous animals preying on the innocent. Colin Kaepernick, an American football player for the San Francisco 49ers started a protest movement in 2016 against police brutality and the oppression of people of color. Each entry is organized by city, and most contain a link to a … Is that enough to conclude that racism is the cause, or are there other forces also at work? Informational cascades are then reinforced as they interlink with our psychological biases and other social mechanisms. We believe that this, paired with the awareness of media backlash that follows an officer shooting a minority suspect, is the most plausible explanation.” The study on police shootings published by the National Academies of Sciences includes another finding that may make sense in this light—black police officers are more likely to shoot black suspects than white police officers are, perhaps because white officers will be subject to increased scrutiny following a fatality. Bias against the black community appears to extend in all kinds of directions, from the courtroom to the maternity ward, where black women are 10 times more likely than white women to have their newborn baby taken from them if they test positive for an illicit drug. Such conflict cycles will almost always end badly for the agent with the least power, namely the suspect. Protesting against police stations and other prominent areas in a city where police brutality occurred is a good way to start in the fight against this issue. Editor’s note: an earlier version of this article contained the sentence “National Academies of Sciences published the findings of its investigations into police shootings in 2019, and cautiously concluded that white people are at greater risk of being shot during a police interaction relative to all other ethnicities.” This sentence has been removed because the investigation has been retracted by its authors. The Southern boy in me says yes; the economist says we don’t know.” But uncertainty is sufficient to set off alarm bells about the Black Lives Matter movement among those who adopt a sceptical approach when evaluating knowledge claims. The death of George Floyd in May, circulated in a bystander’s excruciating video clip, reignited furious and sometimes violent protests demanding reforms to address police brutality against ethnic minorities. Sunstein and Kuran call this arena of heterogeneous receptivity to influence an “availability market.” Just as buyers in an economic market vary in their receptivity to new and unproven products, in an availability market, people with different preconceived ideas vary as to whether or not they will “buy into” unsubstantiated beliefs. THE MUNDANE EXPLANATION FOR ABUSIVE POLICE PRACTICES. The evidence on racial differences in police killings is not unambiguously settled; scholars continue to argue over the minutia of data collection and statistical techniques, and Fryer himself has warned against drawing strong conclusions at this stage: “Are there racial differences in the most extreme forms of police violence? In-group/out-group dynamics are also variables between the police and subjugated communities. Before long, the idea that an epidemic of racially motivated police killings is underway has become an unchallengeable article of faith. I want to offer a brief response to Redditt Hudson’s article posted in Vox today. Hysterical, unsubstantiated claims produced by availability cascades, such as the Love Canal toxic waste incident, may have driven scientific inquiry to reveal details that otherwise wouldn’t have come to public attention for decades. This is most likely an example of pop sociology, the result of years of observation that was never subjected to analysis. Fifteen percent of officers will abuse their authority at every opportunity. Tornadoes are thought to kill more people than asthma, even though asthma kills 20 times as many people. The researchers measured crime in five cities after a black death at the hands of law enforcement caused a media storm and an investigation. The paper warns, “If the price of policing increases, officers are rational to retreat. 18 (Psychologists in Public Service). Susceptibility to informational and availability cascades varies according to an individual’s preconceived beliefs, levels of knowledge, intuitions, visions, values, and desires. As Roland Fryer and other scholars are aware, levels of criminality are independent variables that must be controlled to determine the dependent variable under discussion—police violence motivated by racism. Milgram did quite a few variations of his original experiment. So, poor reporting influences public opinion wherever preconceived visions provide an availability market for certain beliefs to grow. This “us against them” mentality translates into the “Blue Wall” code in which comrades in arms support each other in the face of the enemy, even when that comrade is in the wrong. Racism and Police Brutality Throughout the past couple years, the amount police brutality and racism have increased to an extreme extent. “These videos will keep coming,” warns Sam Harris, “And the truth is, they could probably be matched two for one with videos of white people being killed by cops.” But why aren’t they? Stop law enforcement violence against women of color & trans people of color! You can deconstruct or transform it as long as the end result fulfills the law enforcement needs of society. I already known that police brutality was an important issue in America, but I had not realize how those brutal acts were often against people that had visible minorities. Conformity and Police Brutality. Police Brutality, Extortion And Imminent Security Challenges. In his paper “The Blind Leading the Blind,” David Hirshleifer describes a process of informational cascades, by which beliefs can spread through a population. Indeed, the results from the famous (infamous?) Difficulties arise when the social networking effects of a cascade continue once the problem at issue has been brought under control. Widespread, systematic police brutality persists in some countries with authoritarian governments, corruption, or ineffective judicial systems. There is no indication that the authorities are investigating the thousands of well-documented reports of police brutality and torture filed since mid-August or the killings of protesters. Devi, T., Fryer, R. (2020). Hudson, a former St. Louis police officer explains a theory shared with him by a former colleague. After subjecting more than 10,000 people to knowledge-based questions about the state of the world, the late researcher Hans Rosling found that, on average, activists had a less accurate picture than the general public of the very issue to which their activism is devoted. Homicide rate in Cincinnati before and after investigation into police following a viral shooting. Informational cascades are one of the underlying mechanisms driving availability cascades—the more people who start believing in something the more that other people are convinced to believe the same. Police brutality over and over again. I recently saw a particularly vehement Black Lives Matter supporter berating another in an online community forum for the crime of remarking that “all lives matter”: “Black Lives are getting snuffed out of this world by the very law enforcement officers who swore an oath to protect them… All Lives Matter can get fucked as far as I’m concerned.” When I asked her how she came by this belief, she cited “the countless videos that people are uploading of innocent black people suffering at the hands of law enforcement officers.”, In the 1960s and 1970s, the behavioural scientists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman began studying the mental shortcuts that inform our psychological judgements, and termed one of these shortcuts the “availability heuristic.” Tversky and Kahneman found that the ease with which specific instances of a thing can be recalled, the more likely we are to overestimate the importance and frequency of that thing occurring. As part of an effort to quantify racial bias in police killings, a 2016 study in the journal Injury found that black Americans are not more likely to be injured or killed by police than white Americans during traffic stops. This means that even the criminals, who are a part of the public, have certain rights, particularly, civil rights. The public and the media may then become less willing to publicly challenge ascendant beliefs due to a social mechanism called a reputational cascade. With this social support in place, the subject’s obedience fell to a mere ten percent. As protests continue over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Lawrence D. Bobo, dean of social science and the W.E.B. One of the more common approaches is protesting. “There’s much more openness to the idea of concrete change among police departments,” says Joel Dvoskin, PhD, ABPP, a clinical and forensic psychologist and past president of APA’s Div. The legitimacy of that authority may remain fixed from the point of view of fellow police officers, but in communities subject to long term abuse, that legitimacy becomes tarnished, faded or non-existent. The remaining 70 percent could go either way depending on whom they are working with.” He then goes on to recount how that fifteen percent of abusers exert a disproportionate influence on the other seventy. The authors of the study conjecture, “The disparities in our data are consistent with selective de-policing, where officers are less likely to fatally shoot Black civilians for fear of public and legal reprisals.”, Before proceeding further, it’s important to emphasize caution on over-interpreting the anti-white findings of recent scholarship. Police brutality is undoubtedly linked to that and I wanted to learn even more about this subject. ( Log Out / But she chose not to because she didn’t want her family or the department to have to go through the scrutiny the next day on national news.” While a white death at the hands of a police officer rarely makes headlines, a black death is likely to incite immediate media coverage, outrage, and protests or riots that last for weeks or months. Milgram experiment revealed that about sixty-five percent of participants were willing to administer a lethal dose of electricity upon the direction from authority figures. Instead, activist children are paraded across our screens to tell us how afraid for their lives they are, and to instruct us in the reforms required of law enforcement. “The resulting mass delusions may last indefinitely,” write Sunstein and Kuran, “and they may produce wasteful or even detrimental laws and policies.” In the wake of George Floyd’s death, we have heard urgent calls from the media and the public to investigate and even abolish police departments, a sign that delusional beliefs have been allowed to run amok. Over the past few months, we’ve seen corporations and businesses around the world trip over themselves to declare their support for Black Lives Matter, change the name or branding of their products, and even fire employees who have publicly dissented. The police also understand that the abuse they inflict is justified by a transcendent understanding of “protecting the public” from criminals, even predators. According to Lewis, who is tracking incidences of police brutality and discrimination against deaf people across the nation, effective communication during this initial stage is critical to preventing wrongful arrest and convictions. Both sides see the other as the enemy, one not to be trusted. This publicly accessible Google Sheet lists nearly 600 incidents of alleged police misconduct. It might seem incredible that conformity could manifest in the absence of supporting evidence, but the phenomenon of scientifically groundless belief enjoying mass acceptance is hardly new. Anger and civil unrest follows a black fatality because there is a widespread perception that an epidemic of black killings is occurring, a perception in turn influenced by our availability heuristic due to disproportionate coverage of black deaths in the media following earlier outrages. Everyone they torture or abuse is guilty, every violation of Constitutional rights justified in the end. Research carried out by Sarah Lichtenstein, Paul Slovic and Baruch Fischoff bears out this view. Things get even weirder when we try to probe psychological biases in police officers. Black transgender and gender non-conforming people face some of the highest levels of discrimination of all transgender people according to a new analysis released today, Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Black Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Left unrestrained, they can get completely out of hand. Law enforcement violence against women of color and trans people of color is largely invisible in discussions about police brutality. 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