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Police pledge on racial bias a positive step

by Pamela Nathan

Police Pledge on racial bias, by Rania Spooner and Nino Bucci, published in The Age Tuesday 31 December 2013.

Yes, we are still catching up on our timelines with our blogs!

It is heartening to hear our Victorian Police have pledged to eliminate racial bias within its ranks following allegations and admissions of police racial profiling.

A report, called ‘Equality is not the same’, was recently unveiled and includes some key recommendations. In a move to be congratulated and in a progressive move which acknowledges the power of unconscious the police have pledged to “address racial bias officers may carry into their duties unconsciously”. It is a moot point, however, as to whether members of the police force who have engaged in racial discrimination are consciously aware of their actions or not. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that people can unconsciously employ a distorted evolutionary paradigm to race assuming black is “primitive”, “savage” and ”barbarian”.  Furthermore, racism and racial slurs such as those reported in the submission of a police officer to an African Australian – “you’se black c..nts stink and we’re bound to find some shit on you” – also manifest projective processes and this officer may well unconsciously internally harbor hidden notions of himself as “stinking of shit”.

Key recommendations include reforming cross cultural and diversity training and the development of a policy on unconscious and implicit bias. These reforms will have positive implications for the Aboriginal population and may well be of national significance.

Congratulations to the police force on their ownership of racism and racial profiling and their willingness to change, and to the six African-Australian men who took up the fight.

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