if the leaders of the black lives matter movement started talking about reparations, i bet that would get white peoples’ attention!

“Most of us would like to be free of biases, attitudes, and stereotypes that lead us to judge individuals based on the social categories they belong to, such as race and gender. But wishing things does not make them so. And the best scientific evidence suggests that we — all of us, no matter how hard we try to be fair and square, no matter how deeply we believe in our own objectivity — have implicit mental associations that will, in some circumstances, alter our behavior. They manifest everywhere, even in the hallowed courtroom. Indeed, one of our key points here is not to single out the courtroom as a place where bias especially reigns but rather to suggest that there is no evidence for courtroom exceptionalism. There is simply no legitimate basis for believing that these pervasive implicit biases somehow stop operating in the halls of justice. Confronted with a robust research basis suggesting the widespread effects of bias on decisionmaking, we are therefore forced to choose. Should we seek to be behaviorally realistic, recognize our all-too-human frailties, and design procedures and systems to decrease the impact of bias in the courtroom? Or should we ignore inconvenient facts, stick our heads in the sand, and hope they somehow go away? Even with imperfect information and tentative understandings, we choose the first option. We recognize that our suggestions are starting points, that they may not all work, and that, even as a whole, they may not be sufficient. But we do think they are worth a try. We hope that judges and other stakeholders in the justice system agree.”

Great paper!

Source: Hon. Mark W. Bennett, Devon Carbado, Pam Casey, Jerry Kang,  et al. “Implicit Bias In The Courtroom.” 56 UCLA L. Review 1124, 1186. 2012.

“Many jurors reasonably believe that in order to be fair, they should be as colorblind (or gender-blind, and so forth.) as possible. In other words, they should try to avoid seeing race, thinking about race, or talking about race whenever possible. But the juror research by Sam Sommers demonstrated that White jurors showed race bias in adjudicating the merits of a battery case (between White and Black people) unless they perceived the case to be somehow racially charged. In other words, until and unless White jurors felt there was a specific threat to racial fairness, they showed racial bias. What this seems to suggest is that whenever a social category bias might be at issue, judges should recommend that jurors feel free to expressly raise and foreground any such biases in their discussions. Instead of thinking it appropriate to repress race, gender, or sexual orientation as irrelevant to understanding the case, judges should make jurors comfortable with the legitimacy of raising such issues. This may produce greater confrontation among the jurors within deliberation, and evidence suggests that it is precisely this greater degree of discussion, and even confrontation, that can potentially decrease the amount of biased decisionmaking. This recommendation — to be conscious of race, gender, and other social categories — may seem to contradict some of the jury instructions that we noted above approvingly. But a command that the race (and other social categories) of the defendant should not influence the juror’s verdict is entirely consistent with instructions to recognize explicitly that race can have just this impact — unless countermeasures are taken. In other words, in order to make jurors behave in a colorblind manner, we can explicitly foreground the possibility of racial bias.”

Source: Hon. Mark W. Bennett, Devon Carbado, Pam Casey, Jerry Kang,  et al. “Implicit Bias In The Courtroom.” 56 UCLA L. Review 1124, 1185. 2012.

“In our discussion of judge bias, we recommended that judges become skeptical of their own objectivity and learn about implicit social cognition to become motivated to check against implicit bias. The same principle applies to jurors, who must be educated and instructed to do the same in the course of their jury service. This education should take place early and often.”

Source: Hon. Mark W. Bennett, Devon Carbado, Pam Casey, Jerry Kang,  et al. “Implicit Bias In The Courtroom.” 56 UCLA L. Review 1124, 1181. 2012.