Content note: this post discusses the role of racial prejudice in gun-related murders of people of color.
Amadou Diallo. Jordan Davis. Trayvon Martin. Renisha McBride. Each of these people was unarmed, nonviolent, and were shot in what their killers claimed was self-defense. Each was a person of color. Some people question whether race played a part in their deaths. They point to mental instability on the part of the murderer, the murderer’s prior history of general aggression, or the difficulties that policepeople face when carrying out their duties in dangerous neighborhoods. However, psychological studies of implicit bias in the decision to shoot a human target indicate that race was very likely a factor in these murders. Moreover, these studies point to a simple and powerful way that ordinary people can prevent such deaths in the future.