“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.


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