It’s out there, and it’s not just for policemen anymore.
Turns out, it’s for black and white preschool teachers as well. And if it’s a problem for the educators of our youngest children, it’s a problem for everyone.
I watched this video and it was a real eye-opener:
Then I looked up the study cited by Dr. Rosemarie Allen in the video.
Dr. Walter Gilliam, Associate Professor of Child Psychology and Psychiatry at Yale University and his team examined preschool teachers’ implicit biases about student behaviors. Their findings were disturbing to say the least.
According to the study, both black and white preschool teachers may judge their pupils’ behaviors differently based on race. The study indicated that black students, especially boys, were watched more closely for potential misbehaviors by both black and white teachers.
Perhaps black teachers kept a closer eye on black male children for different reasons than the white teachers did.
Maybe they know something many white people do not: even the littlest black boys are at greater risk of becoming a victim of undeserved violence than white children. Therefore black kids, especially boys, can’t be allowed to make the natural mistakes all kids make as they learn to navigate the relationships that structure their world.
It’s just not safe.
To me, the reasons don’t matter anymore. They are symptoms that point to a far more pernicious disease. The fact that the implicit bias embedded in our culture affects the lives of millions of children during their earliest, most formative years, is more important to me.
As Dr. Rosemarie indicates, we all have it.
(Want to check your own? Go to https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/uk/selectatest.jsp for a free, confidential measure of your personal implicit biases).
Dr. Gilliam said, “Implicit bias is like the wind – you can’t see it, but you can sure see its effects.”
Militarization of the police. Black and Blue lives in conflict. Senseless violence. An us -versus -them attitude that is swiftly turning American neighborhoods into war zones.
Implicit bias as it applies to race is a terminal disease. It is a systematic evil and awareness alone won’t cut it, much less eradicate it. However, awareness can lead to action that will attack this evil. But it has to be the right kind of action.
Campaign Zero is a project that actively solicits citizen involvement to end police violence in America. Because implicit bias runs deep, so must the solutions: besides focusing on community involvement, improved police training methods, and increased awareness Campaign Zero includes comprehensive policy recommendations that federal, state and local officials must undertake to silence the guns.
The project also looks at existing policies and legislation to see what works, and what does not. It tracks legislation that is pending in all states, and includes ways for people like you and me to demand action from our representatives on the local, state, and federal levels.
Self-awareness. Effective action.
Alone, they are not enough. Together, they constitute a knock-out punch that may just stop the madness.
Before its too late for the children – and for us.