Protests Over Killings of Black People Could Erode Racism, Researcher Says
Images and reports of people taking to the streets to protest last month’s killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police have sparked conversations among Americans on police use of force to control crowds, the morality of looting, and the destruction of property to vent anger and garner attention for a cause. Divergent perceptions of the unrest have roots in unconscious biases and knowledge of historical contexts, says James Jones, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Delaware, Newark, who has studied the psychology underlying prejudice and racism. Understanding where those biases come from and how to counteract them will be key to moving toward a more just society after this highly charged moment, he says. Science spoke to Jones about the protests and perceptions of them.