New body camera research is showing us what we already know: Black drivers get less respect from cops than their white counterparts.
In a series of experiments, researchers played 250 audio clips featuring 414 people of varying races and genders, who were all stopped by the police while driving. Participants were asked to rate the officers’ tones and results confirmed the obvious: police are less friendly and less “at ease” with Black male drivers.
“The researchers edited the clips, which were split evenly between Black and white male drivers, so participants couldn’t understand what an officer said but could still hear their tone. Researchers kept officers’ race and gender secret, but it’s possible participants could still infer some of those details from the audio, says Nicholas Camp, lead author on the study and assistant professor of organizational studies at the University of Michigan. The driver’s speech was also omitted so participants only heard the officers’ tones. Even so, participants in the study published this week in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology rated police officers’ tones when talking with Black male drivers as significantly less friendly and less at ease than with white male drivers. These results held true despite participant and officer demographics.”
“We really wanted to see if there were differences in the most common and routine interactions,” Camp explained. “But even with these routine encounters, we see these disparities, and they have consequences.” “When we’re talking about racial disparities in policing, a lot of times we’re constrained by what we have records on,” he adds. “We don’t know a lot about how officers actually interact and communicate with the public.”
We know a TON about how police interact with the public, actually. But, now that this research is corroborating what the Black community has been saying for the longest, maybe people will take us more seriously?