School Security Measures, Racial Disparities, Implicit Racial Bias, and the Fourth Amendment Jason P. Nance Professor of Law Associate Dean for Academic Affairs The University of Florida Levin College of Law
Implicit Racial Bias • Examines metal processes outside of conscious awareness or volitional control • It affects human feelings, thoughts, perceptions, actions, decisions, and behaviors • System 1 v. System 2 human cognition processes • System 2 is conscious, requires substantial working memory, is slow, reflective, deliberate, controlled, rule-based, correlated with cognitive ability • System 1 is quick, contextualized, automatic, associative, independent of cognitive ability, and operates outside of conscious awareness • System 1 relies on schemas (knowledge templates that help us organize objects and information into broader categories)
Implicit Racial Bias • Humans categorize objects and people subconsciously (along the lines of, e.g., race, gender, age, disability) • Subconscious categorization helps us sort and comprehend large amounts of information • Subconscious categorization also triggers implicit attitudes and stereotypes • Attitudes: associations between concepts (such as a social group) and a way of thinking or feeling • Stereotypes: associations between concepts (such as a social group) and a trait. • Attitudes and stereotypes are related, but distinct
Implicit Association Test • Task #1: sort black and white faces by pressing computer keys on left and right side of keyboard • Task #2: sort pleasant and unpleasant words (agony, joy, love, nasty) • Next two tasks are in random order. • Task #3: press one key when participant sees a white face or a pleasant word and another key when the participant sees a black face or an unpleasant word • Task #4: press a key when participant sees a black face or a pleasant word and other key upon seeing a white face or an unpleasant word • The IAT measure is based on the comparative speed and accuracy of completing these tasks.
Implicit Association Test • Two important findings based on hundreds of thousands of people taking the IAT • (1) almost 75% of test takers have an implicit preference for whites (including African-American test takers) • (2) white preference predicted by the Race IAT predicts discriminatory behavior, even among people who claim to be egalitarian. • Meta-analysis of 122 research studies that included 184 independent samples and 14,900 research subjects found substantial support for predictive validity of IAT.
Empirical Studies Demonstrating the Effects of Racial Implicit Bias • Payne study: • Participants primed by black faces under times conditions were more likely to falsely identify a tool as a gun than participants primed by seeing a white face. • Correll study: • Video game where blacks and whites appeared either holding a gun or different object (cell phone, camera, wallet, can) • When under timed conditions and with financial incentives for correct responses, when target was unarmed, participants erroneously shot target more when target was black • Bargh study: • Participants primed with black faces were more hostile than participants primed with white faces.
Empirical Studies Demonstrating the Effects of Racial Implicit Bias • Graham study: • Experiments assessing police officers’ reactions to stories about hypothetical youth who allegedly committed crimes. • Police officers primed by race found offender to be more culpable, deserving of punishment, and mature. • Gilliam study: • One group of participants watched a news story featuring a black perpetrator of a crime and another watched the identical story except the perpetrator was white. • For the black perpetrator, participants more strongly supported punitive measures.
Empirical Studies Demonstrating the Effects of Racial Implicit Bias • van den Bergh study: • Found that teachers generally had lower academic expectations for minority students, but expectations decreased further for teachers with higher implicit racial biases. • Teachers’ negative implicit racial biases were associated with lower academic achievement. • Okonofua study: • Researchers displayed to teachers a fictitious record of a student who misbehaved twice – once for insubordination and the other for class disturbance. • Researchers manipulated race by using stereotypically black or white names (Deshawn or Darnell) (Jake or Greg). • The race of the student was associated with support for more harsh discipline and beliefs that the student was as “troublemaker.”
Empirical Studies Demonstrating the Effects of Racial Implicit Bias on “Racial Spaces” • Sampson study: • Researchers found that neighborhood’s racial compositions of African-Americans and Latinos were more powerful predictors of subjective perceptions of disorder than careful, actual observations of disorder. • Quillian study: • Found that neighborhood’s concentration of young, black males was one of the best predictors of perceived severity of neighborhood crime, • This was true even after controlling for other variables such as crime rates, victimization rates, and neighborhood deterioration factors. • Correll study: • Studied tendency to shoot or not to shoot African-American or white targets in a video game. • Discovered that implicit racial biases increased among police officers serving in urban environments with higher concentrations of black residents.
Alternative Measures • Positive School Climate • Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports • Restorative Justice initiatives • Strength of classroom activities and level of student engagement • Social and Emotional Learning
Other Measures • Governments should stop providing funds for strict security measures • Dep’t of Education should provide grants to better understand the effects of implicit racial bias and how to curtail it • Dep’t of Education’s Office of Civil Rights should become involved • Courts can play a role
Current Fourth Amendment Test for Suspicionless Searches of Students The Court balances the following three factors: (1) the scope of students’ legitimate expectation of privacy (2) the character of the intrusion (3) the nature and immediacy of the government concern
Proposed Framework (1) Rethink “students’ legitimate expectation of privacy” (2) Rethink the concept of “intrusion” (3) Rethink “nature and immediacy of the governmental concern”