Are Some Officers Unconsciously Racist? And Other News

A street memorial to Michael Brown in FergusonIn the wake of grand jury no-bills against Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo, the police officers accused of killing Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York, discussions of race and racism have grown increasingly contentious. In an article on why police officers shoot young black men at disproportionately high rates, Mother Jones explores how racism can be a subtle phenomenon that changes lives even when perpetrators don’t consciously behave in racist ways.

One explanation is implicit association. Black people are often portrayed in the media as dangerous criminals, and this can affect all people’s assumptions. The Implicit Association Test is one way to measure implicit racial bias. Even if you have no conscious racist feelings, you may be surprised to see that you are unconsciously racist. Implicit associations are built upon our tendency to categorize people. When it comes to race, though, it’s possible to accidentally categorize people of one race as bad or dangerous. 

Schools ‘Ruled’ By Mean Boys, Not Mean Girls

So-called mean girls, who engage in relational aggression such as gossip, spreading rumors, and manipulation have gotten plenty of press in recent years. According to a study of 620 students from six different Georgia schools, though, it’s mean boys, not mean girls, who engage in the most relational aggression. While the study found that boys used indirect aggression tactics to harm others more than girls, it also found that relational aggression was extremely common in schools. More than 90% of students reported being victimized by relational aggression. 

Former Saints Player Becomes Advocate for Mental Health After NFL Run

Many former professional football players struggle to find a new identity when they retire from the game. Former Saints player Boo Williams reports that he experienced anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts after leaving the sport. Williams argues that the repeated blows of professional football—which has long been criticized for its handling of player’s concussions—worsened his symptoms. Following a suicide attempt in 2011, Williams has become a mental health advocate for former NFL players.

New Jersey Looks at ‘Yes Means Yes’ College Policy

Rape prevention activists are increasingly emphasizing the importance of affirmative consent. Affirmative consent requires each person engaging in a sexual interaction to consent to the act, which is a departure from the standard “no means no” strategy. Now New Jersey is looking into such as “yes means yes policy” for colleges. The proposal would require colleges to define what constitutes affirmative consent in an effort to stem the tide of college rapes. 

Stanford Linguist Says Prejudice Toward African American Dialect Can Result in Unfair Rulings

Stanford linguistics professor John Rickford, a well-known expert on the African-American Vernacular English (AAVE), argues that racial prejudice may have affected court rulings in the Trayvon Martin case. Rachel Jeantel, a friend whom Martin called during a portion of his interaction with George Zimmerman, was lambasted in the media for her mannerisms and expressions. Rickford, though, argues that Jeantel’s demeanor marked a cultural difference that, due to their unfamiliarity with AAVE, caused the jury to discredit her.

Witnessing Parental Violence Affects Boys and Girls Differently

According to a study that evaluated outcomes for 1,125 children referred to Child Protective Services, both boys and girls suffer due to parental violence. While girls who witnessed violence were more likely to struggle with social skills, boys who came from violent homes were more likely to behave aggressively. This aggression undermines social development, which means that ultimately both boys and girls who witness family violence struggle with social skills. 

Nearly 1 in 12 Americans Struggles With Depression, Study Finds

According to a new National Center for Health Statistics data brief, at any given time depression affects almost one in 12 Americans, or 8% of all adults. Only about a third of people facing depression seek help, though.

Minnesota Mulls Allowing Trans Students to Choose Sports Teams Based on Gender Identity

Transgendered students—those who feel they don’t ‘fit’ with their assigned gender or who do not embrace a traditional identity—are often left out of school sports because these sports are typically segregated along gender lines. The Minnesota State High School League, though, is currently drafting a policy that would allow trans students to select their sports teams based not on assigned or biological gender, but on their gender identity.

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  • Darrell


    December 5th, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    Alright so let’s say that some police officers are racist even if they don’t know it. Fine, I can understand that. But so you mean then they they consciously will hurt another person just because of their race? I just don’t think that I know any police officers like that nor do I think that there are that many officers out there who go into their dangerous line of work all for the sole purpose of harming someone from a different race. I think that i you think this and are spreading this kind of version of the truth then we are doing the police and justice system untold harm.

  • Jsckie


    December 7th, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    Racism is very alive. I don’t think all cops are bad they are regular people with problems that is not address that can cause a bad taste in some people mouth. Make no mistake they are cops that use they power in the wrong way

  • sandy


    December 6th, 2014 at 6:05 AM

    then the mean boys team up and date the mean girls and they are a double threat to their peers

  • Kit


    December 6th, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    I am sorry, but is there no thing as standard English anymore that one should be expected to speak at least in formal settings like court proceedings?
    Do OI think that it is wrong if this young woman was discriminated against? Of course I do, I don’t think that you should make snap judgments about other people because of things like this.
    However I do think that there are many of an older generation who may have a hard time understanding someone who does not use standard English and if someone wants to be plainly understood they should at least have the ability to converse in this manner at times when it is appropriate even if they do not have to with friends or family.

  • Krissy


    December 6th, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    Do we really think that a new policy implemented by the state at the collegiate level will be enough to reduce the number of date rapes on college campuses? The only thing that will do that is to slow down the amount of drinking that occurs on campus and I don’t see that happening in any way unless you make the college campuses dry. I just think that for teens and young adults that this is so rampant and so ingrained in them that it is going to take far more than this to make the changes in the numbers relevant.

  • joda


    December 8th, 2014 at 3:54 AM

    not surprising that boys and girls react differently to growing up with abuse in the home. i should also think that seeing this hinders girls’ social skills as well as leaves them more predisposed to being involved in an abusive relationship themselves.

  • Perry


    December 8th, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    I would love to hear opinions about the Minnesota proposal. I am very torn by all of this, because I want to be sensitive to the needs of those who do not feel like they fit in but at the same time we also have to be sensitive to the feelings of those looking to play on traditional based sports teams too. You can’t overlook one just to accommodate the other.

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