In Black and White: Why do so many whites see Blacks as dangerous?

In Black and White: Why do so many whites see Blacks as dangerous?

Scot Kirk Patrick Flaherty

Marcelius Braxton talks to Scot Kirk — host of “The Other Side” podcast — and to Dr. Terrance Dean about Braxton’s recent Columbus Dispatch op-ed column about Blacks being percieved as dangerous without cause.

Braxton, assistant dean of students at Capital University Law School, says the erroneous perception that Black people are dangerous is the source of many of the racial and equality issues facing the country today.

He also talks about how Blacks are regularly dehumanized in ways that whites rarely are and Braxton offers suggestions on how to combat the problem.

Columbus is still reeling from the recent killing of two Black men. Deputy Jason Meade of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office shot Casey Goodson, Jr. while he was putting keys into his door, and Officer Adam Coy of the Columbus Police Department shot Andre Hill while he was leaving a garage, having just dropped off Christmas money for a friend.

The actions of the police here in Columbus are rightfully being compared to DC police who showed patience, restraint, and even deference in the midst of the January 6th violent riot in the U.S. Capitol, where upset Trump supporters came to express their anger and disbelief over President Trump’s 2020 Election defeat.

In 2020, nearly three-quarters of Columbus voters supported the creation of a civilian police review board, and the calls for police reform continue to increase. But police actions related to Casey Goodson Jr., Andre Hill, and the U.S. Capitol riots demonstrate a persistent obstacle:  Police reform will not change society’s biased perception of Black dangerousness and white innocence.

A 2017 study indicates that when comparing Black men to white men of the same size, people will tend to view Black men as more threatening and larger. Researcher John Paul Wilson stated that “participants also believed that the Black men were more capable of causing harm in a hypothetical altercation and, troublingly, that police would be more justified in using force to subdue them, even if the men were unarmed.”

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