World Trust

Diversity Video Clip: Explaining Systemic Bias in US Policing

Posted by Lisa Abbott on November 25, 2014

This video cllip from Cracking the Codes helps break down what is happening in Ferguson, tim_jelalMo and throughout the U.S. as communities of color try to navigate interactions with biased, and increasing militarized, law enforcement. Use this video at home or in the workplace to bring more people into productive conversation about the events in Ferguson and systemic injustice.

Part 1: The System of Racial Inequity

The video opens with an animation of World Trust's frame of the system of racial inequity. Unpacking how systemic inequity functions is critical to analyzing the history and power dynamics at play in Ferguson.  Young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts – 21 times greater, according to a ProPublica analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings.

Seeing how bias and privilege play out in institutions like policing and the judiciary helps explain why the pattern of tragic deaths of young men of color at the hands of police -- Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Trayvon and Michael Brown  --  continues to occur without repercussion.

Part 2: Boy Blue

The poet Jelal Huyler conveys the impact of systemic racial inequity on youth of color with his poignant poem "Boy Blue."  What does it mean when society says you don't matter?

Part 3:  Tim Wise and Systemic Injustice in Policing

In this final part of the video, author and anti-racism activist Tim Wise talks about the impact of unconscious bias in policing. When law enforcement officers routinely stop youth of color, suspecting that they are engaging in criminal activity, our criminal justice resources are poorly deployed.

"You’re able to in effect tag him [youth of color] as a possible wrong doer. That’s how these folks get caught up, young black and brown men in particular, in the system being harassed over and over and over again. While the white folks, according to the data are the ones more likely to have drugs in their car, more likely to bring drugs through airports, says Wise.

"The ones who are the least suspected are the ones who are actually most likely to be guilty. So you have the combination of personal bias and the reality then of systemic mistreatment and then the irony of it all, is it actually leads you astray, and doesn’t allow you to do your job effectively. If you’re a cop, and you think the black or brown kid's got drugs, and the white kid has drugs, you’re not even doing your job well.

"So at some level, these personal biases not only affect systemic behavior, but they actually have profound, larger, social consequences, in that our criminal justice resources are really deployed in the completely wrong areas."

Here is the video:



The World Trust diversity video Cracking the Codes is used to support dialogue about systemic inequity in over 600 institutions in education, healthcare, government, faith, nonprofit and philanthropy. See the trailer here.

Download pdf of System of Inequity

Topics: Talk about Race