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Final Urban League
town hall tackles ;
BY XEVIN STINSON
THE CHRONICLE _
When discussing the relationship
between law enforcement and the African
American community, and the root causes
to why blacks are more likely to die in cus
tody than whites, it is nearly impossible
not to consider the effect implicit bias has
on the decisions officers make on a daily
That was the message Dr. Jennifer
Eberhardt, a Stanford University social
psychologist and associate professor,
delivered during the last of three Black &
Blue Town Hall meetings hosted by the
Winston-Salem Urban League (WSUL).
Also known as implicit social cogni
tion, implicit bias refers to the attitudes
that affect our understanding and decision
making in an unconscious
manner. Eberhardt, who is widely known
for her studies on race and inequality, said
making judgments based solely on a per
son's race, ethnicity, gender, or even some
one's appearance can lead to negative situ
ations. She noted these biases are etched
into our DNA and develop as we get older
and they are often activated without indi
viduals knowing it.
"Race can influence us more often than
we think. In cognitive psychology, we call
it un-intentional blindness," she said. "The
idea is that our minds are not designed to
pay attention to every single object that is
in the world, no matter how distinctive that
object might be."
"Objects become visible, and invisible
to us based on our goals, expectations, and
based on what we already know to be true
about the world."
For nearly two hours, Eberhardt used
results from a number of studies and polls
that examine the association between bias
mindsets and the criminalization of black
bodies. In one study, participants were put
in front of a computer and shown images
of different people, some holding guns and
others holding harmless objects. Next, par
ticipants were asked to press a button
labeled "shoot" when they saw a person
with a gun, and "don't shoot" for those with
the harmless item.
When looking at response times, indi
viduals were faster to respond "shoot" to a
black person with a gun, than they were to
a white person with a gun. According to
Eberhardt, race had an effect in the error
rates as well. Results from the
"Shoot/Don't Shoot" study proved partici
pants were more likely to respond "shoot"
to a black person who did not have a gun,
than they were to respond "shoot" to a
white perspn who did not have a gun.
"This study has been replicated by
teams of researchers in different regions of
the country and you get the same pattern of
results," she said.
A national poll conducted in 2013 indi
cated that whites are more likely to agree
that racial discrimination against blacks is
a thing of the past when it comes to terms
of interaction with the police, in the court
system, and at the voting polls. Eberhardt
mentioned one contributing factor to
implicit bias is that the always angry, vio
lent, criminal black person has become the
poster child for what all African
Americans are like. She said the dispropor
tionate number of blacks that make up the
prison population is a contributing factor
"We're exposed to this black criminal
ization everyday through a number of
channels," she continued. "In a culture that
is saturated with images, statistics, and
ideas like we've seen, the air is thick with
this notion that blacks are prone to crimi
for asking the tougher questions that put
everyday people in the shoes of police offi
"What 1 like about the questions she
asked here today is that they force people
to look at these situations from the per
spective of the police officer," Perry said.
"I think if we want to continue to build
the relationship between the police and the
community, we have to take into the con
sideration all perspectives and not just our
Perry mentioned while he was happy
with the turnout and community participa
tion during the town halls, he is aware that
no concrete solutions were developed. He
said the Urban League aims to find the real
answers and solutions.
"Unfortunately, but fortunately, this is
only the first step," he said. "But events
like this prove that people and the police
are willing to do what it takes to build
"Now that we know the lines of com
munication are open, we can start working
on creating permanent solutions."
Local NAACP President Isaac Howard raises a question about police training
during the Black & Blue Town Hall last week.
s i o n ,
To wrap up
W S U L
tion in all
, Photo by Tevin Sanson
More than two dozen people spent their Saturday
morning making sure families in the Triad area
have food during the holiday season. Operation
Thanksgiving Blessing has become a holiday tradi
tion in the area.
forces to send
BY TEVIN STTNSON
The Chris Paul Family Foundation and the Triad
Dream Center, a local nonprofit dedicated to fighting the
vicious cycle of poverty, joined forces to ensure 100 fam
ilies in the Triad have food on the table this holiday sea
Over the past few years, Operation Thanksgiving
Blessing has become a tradition in
Winston-Salem and surrounding areas. This year more
volunteers than ever helped fill boxes with enough food to
prepare seven or eight meals, and a holiday turkey.
Formally named the CP3 Foundation after star NBA point
guard and hometown hero Chris Paul, The Chris Paul
Family Foundation's mission is to provide resources that
strengthen and build communities in need.
Chris' parents Robin and Charles were on hand during
the event last Saturday Nov. 12. Both said they were grate
ful for the Triad Dream Center and the volunteers. Robin
said, This is the most help we've ever had. It feels good
to know so many people want to help."
Triad Dream Center executive director Michael
Watson said, "This is truly amazing. This is what the hol
iday season is suppose to be about."
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