What a psychological study of police officers reveals about racial profiling.

Researchers have found that even children aren't immune to the racial biases of law enforcement officials.

Who did they study?

The researchers tested 176 police officers (mostly white men) and 264 graduates (mostly white women) to see how they think, in a really nitty-gritty way, about kids of different races.

Here are two key takeaways:


1. Black children are often seen as older than they are.

That may not seem like such a big deal on the surface, but here's why it definitely is.

Kids are universally seen as "innocent" and in need of protection. The older they get, the less those protections apply, right? So when people view and treat kids of color as if they're older than they really are, they're excluding those children from those protections.

In effect, they're seeing black children as less innocent than white children, independent of any wrongdoing. That plays out about like you'd expect when it comes to law enforcement.

2. Police officers are more likely to use violent force against black children.

To a lot of people, that may sound like a no-brainer. But it's the thought behind that use of force that we need to pay attention to.

According to Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, co-author of the study, the officers surveyed showed "a use of force about three times as high towards black children as towards white children or Latino children." Officers who exhibited dehumanizing views toward black children were more likely to have used violent force against them in the past.

And to tie that back to the first finding, those officers were also more likely to see black children as older and more blameworthy. Goff explains, "In our minds, we represent particularly those young men that we imagine are possibly dangerous to be older than they are so that we're essentially justifying the threat that we feel."

Again, we're talking about kids here, not criminals.

But this shows the power our unconscious biases can have on how we treat other people.

This study is an eye-opener, but the researchers know it's only the beginning of a deeper investigation. Goff acknowledges the limitations of working with a small sample, but he sees it as a necessary first step: "I can't tell you what the rates of disparity are for black children across the country because there are no national data on police use of force or police behavior generally."

This is a problem that we cannot wait to fix.

Goff and his colleagues are working to get that national picture. But police departments shouldn't wait any longer before taking steps to deal with it. Because let's be honest — in communities of color, "to protect and serve" sounds less like a comforting assurance and more like a cruel joke.

Check out the full report here. I'll admit, some of the stats are beyond me. But it's also full of helpful background and context.

Watch a video of Goff and a few others discussing the study:

More

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture