Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Police Uniform Increases Bias

This study indicates that just wearing a police uniform increases bias.  I am reminded of the Stanford Prison Experiment which showed just how fast and badly things can go wrong when you assign valued and nonvalued social roles to a bunch of equals.  The "guards" became so brutal toward the "prisoners" that the experiment had to be canceled before it was even half done.

It's very interesting that a police uniform can change people's perceptions.  I think, however, that the nature  of that change relies on people's concept of what the uniform symbolizes.  If society thinks of police as glorified slavecatchers, there to beat down the disobedient, you'll get a bias toward markers associated with disobedience.  But what if your society views police more like Fix-It Felix than Wreck-It Ralph?  Look at "Bring Out the Best" where Lawrence is trying to figure out heroism by following Stan.  I suspect that if you put a police uniform on most T-American folks, they would alert to little problems that could be fixed before growing into big problems, because that's how most people see police in that society.
Tags: community, news, safety, science
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