Racism is arbitrary and pointless

We don’t have to look hard to realize many of our relatives have been victims of racism. If we live in comfort and freedom, it’s only because we’re lucky

Racism is arbitrary and pointlessI’m outraged as I write this. Yet another Black American, Jacob Blake, was shot in front of his children, in broad daylight and in cold blood by a white police officer. Miraculously, he survived, but it’s unlikely he will ever walk again. I’m also very inspired by the myriad of professional athletes refusing to play;…

Police failures begin with bad leadership

Policing, despite its facade of altruism and professionalism, remains incredibly insular, self-promoting and conservative

Police failures begin with bad leadershipDespite several decades of celebrating community policing, certain communities have been over-policed, discriminated against and abused by systemic inequalities. The inequalities loudly and persistently decried are proven by the statistical realities of arrest and incarceration rates, and by the video evidence of victims of policing bias. Countries like Canada, Australia, Britain, France and the United…

Bad leadership at the heart of police brutality

There’s no place for cowards, racists, sociopaths or murderers in a police department. And yet such officers are detected with alarming regularity

Bad leadership at the heart of police brutalityThe wave of protests across the United States in response to the death of George Floyd follows a lengthy list of protests against police misconduct. The list of misconduct includes: Rodney King, beaten by police on a freeway after a high-speed chase in Los Angeles (1991); Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant sodomized in a New…

Racist cop shows, biased news fuel public fears of crime

Portrayals of violent crime in pop culture and media are skewing people's perception of how likely it is to happen to them, says U of A expert

Racist cop shows, biased news fuel public fears of crimeU.S. President Donald Trump tweeted recently that defunding the police would “be good for Robbers & Rapists.” Last week, after signing his tepid executive order on policing, he proffered that “without police, there is chaos.” The reality, however, is that violent crime – the kind that people often think of when rationalizing the need for a…

Social change hampered by Neanderthals

Culture change is a messy process. We need to stand up to the ignorant in this fight for social justice

Social change hampered by NeanderthalsI truly think this time is different. I think as a society, we’re fed up with lingering racial injustice. It’s been heartening to see white leaders in government, corporate America and the sports world step up in a strong way toward social justice in the days since George Floyd died. But this movement toward real…

Half measures won’t solve the problem with police

It’s time to reduce funding to police and reallocate those dollars to more proactive ways to reduce crime

Half measures won’t solve the problem with policeHere’s a couple of questions that might have seemed crazy to many people just a few short years ago but are gaining purchase today. Do we really need as much policing as we have? Or are the ever-growing police budgets actually inadvertently leading to greater violence? A lot of us have believed that police exist…

Defunding police a movement whose time has come

Reallocating some police funding to social workers, making body cameras mandatory would cut unnecessary violence

Defunding police a movement whose time has comeThe last two weeks have seen an explosion of interest in defunding the police in Canada and around the world. This is not a new idea – governments have long recognized that “the current model … was obsolete, expensive and too often produced dire consequences,” and have sought “alternative, more community-responsive approaches to public safety.” Despite these…

How police departments can root out violent members

U of A sociologist recommends training, screening, higher education, more accountability and better gender balance

How police departments can root out violent membersThe global condemnation of the death of George Floyd, one of the latest in a constellation of officer-involved deaths of unarmed civilians, has grown into a worldwide social movement for disbanding or defunding police. At the far end of the debate, there are those calling for abolishing the police altogether. On the other hand, there are…