Why “implicit bias” training is not the solution to police violence

Last week, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that some 28,000 federal agents would be required to undergo implict bias training. Lynch’s announcement came during a brief respite between police killings of unarmed Black, Latino, and Indigenous people. But as the week progressed, and the media reported on of the killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Anthony Nuñez, Raul Saavedra-Vargas, Melissa Ventura, and Pedro Villanueva, implicit bias training re-emerged, albeit quietly, as a talking point. Hillary Clinton referred to it as a “common sense” police reform. And, indeed, where implicit bias programs have been instituted at the local level, they have been greeted with approval on all sides. They are inexpensive, and do not pose any challenge to policing at a structural level. Yet I worry that focusing on unconscious racism is a misrepresentation of the problem and may lead to complacency (which, I suppose, is one meaning of common sense). Continue reading “Why “implicit bias” training is not the solution to police violence”