Why you should care
Because there’s gotta be a better way.
Every Wednesday, we’re debating hot topics in the lead-up to our next TV show, Third Rail With OZY, launching on PBS this fall. Last week we asked, “Do you have any suggestions — no matter how wacky — that could eliminate racial bias in policing?” We suggested robots as police officers. You answered with wit, snark and thoughtfulness. Here are some reader responses and perspectives, with editing for clarity. Check back tomorrow for our next question.
Robots will not fear for their safety. [There will be] fewer police shootings. Governments will save billions in lawsuits, salaries and benefits.
Remember, robots are programmed by people, people are flawed by nature, therefore robots will also be flawed.
Implement personality tests that reveal violent tendencies, and also desirable candidate qualities (honesty, integrity, empathy).
Police officers should never exit their car if they are stopping someone for a taillight out, expired tag, etc. They should record the tag and tell the driver on the loudspeaker what they’re being stopped for. Same for speeding. Tickets can all be imposed and paid via computer software.
Black civilians should always be approached by Black police officers. Always! They’ve earned that right. Also, it makes sense that they most likely can communicate and understand each other’s tendencies or actions better.
Increase funding for policing. It will make it easier for police families to survive to protect and serve. It just seems like all policing is defensive now. I’m from a rural state where prejudices — white toward Black — have been passed down for centuries. Black people have always trained their children to do exactly what law enforcement says. I truly believe we can weed out and prevent hiring people prone to violence by using simple personality tests.
Ethnicity of officers should match the neighborhoods they police.
Racial-recognition-neutralizing headgear: Our finest could be equipped with eyewear that converts the color of all flesh to green, and a listening device that transforms the voice of a suspect to that of Siri.
The problem with robots is that they would likely be strict and never take things [on a] case-by-case basis.
How about reducing the racial imbalance in the commission of crimes? Let’s get back to reality. The cops are not the problem; the criminals are the problem. And when it comes to violent crimes, Blacks commit the absolute majority of these offenses.
Changing the “culture” of racial bias in America starts at the top, [with] our federal government — and the hope is that this might set the tone for the rest of the country.
For starters, when I complete the U.S. census form, it asks what my “race” is. Evidently, the federal government is interested in the color of my skin. I’m sure they have some reasons for asking such a question, but if it’s our goal to live in a “colorless society,” this is sending the wrong message. In addition, we must drive out legal racial bias as well — and by this I mean affirmative action. In my experience, affirmative action has created resentment and enhanced racial friction in the U.S.